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rni no. MAHENG/201034042

Vol No 4 Issue No 5








rni no. MAHENG/201034042

FRONTIERS Also in this issue

Challenge to tyre techies Ertugrul Yilmaz, Technologist and consultant

SIEMENS: NEW LEVELS OF AUTOMATION Peter Haan, Siemens Industrial Automation Systems

R&D holds the key Unnikrishnan G, Vice President, R&D, CEAT Ltd.

Uniqueness drives growth Kim Gran, President & CEO, Nokian Tyres

rni no. MAHENG/201034042

Vol No 4 Issue No 5








rni no. MAHENG/201034042

FRONTIERS Also in this issue

Challenge to tyre techies Ertugrul Yilmaz, Technologist and consultant

SIEMENS: NEW LEVELS OF AUTOMATION Peter Haan, Siemens Industrial Automation Systems

R&D holds the key Unnikrishnan G, Vice President, R&D, CEAT Ltd.

Uniqueness drives growth Kim Gran, President & CEO, Nokian Tyres

insi d e 11



Mail Box


News scan-Asia


News scan-World




Straight talk



The Price Challenge

Michelin’s Peter Selleck to head RMA; Niraj Thakkar re-elected AIRIA president; Robert Harrelson named VP for Yokohama HRD; David Valentine named as ARI director of OEM sales; Kaushik Roy MD at Phillips Carbon Black; Pirelli’s Paul Hembery rides Formula 1 rough weather

Vijay Kakade

Carol Perrotta

For a National Rubber Policy Re-elected as President of AIRIA, Niraj Thakkar has set clear goals to achieve in this term. Persuading the government to formulate a national rubber policy is among his priority list

Changing Market-scape To compete with Indian tyre companies in their own domestic market, international tyre makers have adopted an aggressive strategy to woo consumers as well as to create brand awareness, says Vijay Kakade, Director Automotive and Transportation Practice, Frost & Sullivan Clouds clearing over Europe The European tyre market has been steady over the past two months with a fair number of important new tyres being launched by leading brands along with several encouraging sales statistics, writes John Snow



Spare Tyre Choice While the debate on deleting the spare from the boot to reduce vehicle weight continues, it remains a fact that a spare in the boot makes the driver breathe easy on long lonely roads, writes Louis Rumao Automotive Industry Bounces Back The fact that the global economy is picking up steam is reflected in the buoyancy felt among automotive manufacturers, says Carol Perrotta, Chairperson of the Overseas Automotive Council (OAC) of the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA)



Not Waste, But Commodity The South African government’s ground-breaking tyre recycling and disposal programme being implemented by the Recycling and Economic Development Initiative of South Africa (REDISA) has already gained global recognition, says its CEO Hermann Erdmann New SR Grades for Tyre Making The two new synthetic rubber grades from LANXESS is expected to support the Green Tyre sector. According to the global specialty chemicals leader, these grades will help the process of making tyres with outstanding low rolling resistance


New Frontiers


Cover Story



Treading New Frontiers At a time when auto sales are scaling new heights, tyre makers have no choice but to ramp up their technological arsenal. Change is the only constant, and tyre engineers should not skid off the rapidly shifting track that represents rising consumer expectations on greener mobility

Siemens: New Levels of Automation Siemens has taken factory automation to new levels of seamless operation through its integrated automation solutions based on simulation systems. Based on existing 3D drawings of any CAD tool you can add the kinematics to each part of the machine by using Tecnomatix Process Simulate, Peter Haan, Head of Business Development OEM Tire, Siemens, says Research Pioneers TAARC, the UK-based rubber research institution, celebrated its 75th anniversary this January. With renewed emphasis on green technologies that will be driven by Dr Kamarudin Ab-Malek, CEO, the pioneering institution is moving towards discovering cutting-edge technologies that will further transform the Malaysian rubber economy

al Su

October/November 2013 Vol 4 Issue No 5 R&D Holds the Key The role of R&D in Indian tyre industry has become more important in the wake of the rapid changes happening in the industry and the technological challenges it brings, says Unnikrishnan G, Vice President, Research & Development, CEAT Tyres


Race Track




Company watch


Product watch



96 - 101

ATRC Special Report





112 113

Red Bull Run As 2013 Formula 1 reaches its home stretch, the Seb-Web driven Red Bull Racing team is is tracks ahead in the race for team leadership with 445 points. The closest competitor is Ferrari (297) followed by Mercedes (287) and Lotus-Renault (264). The bull-run this season has been so emphatic that it has inspired even rivals

a l S u pp l ement

Hermann Erdmann

Dr Kamarudin Ab-Malek






Random thoughts



My Vision: Nokian Tyres



Ad Index

What to Follow: Fundamental or Technical Analysis

What’s in a Name?

S pec i a l S u pp l ement


S pec i a l S u pp l ement

S pec i a l S u

Tyre Mould Special Supplement

Moulding Profits As tyre companies face tough challenges in an increasingly difficult market, a major strategy to ensure better bottom lines is to invest in high-quality precision moulds. It assures fail-safe production of quality tyres and ensures uninterrupted output


Hallmark of Quality


Machines and Men


Machinery and R&D


Focus on Quality, Technology


Laser Cleaning of the Mould

Tyre Recalls for Enhanced Consumer Safety Lean, but Not Mean

Hurry Up and Relax!


POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013

Editor’s Letter

Vol 4 Issue No 5 October/November 2013 Editor Kurian Abraham Executive Director John S. Powath Associate Editor KS Nayar Executive Editor P Raghava Varma Assistant Editors Prof T N Kalamani A Saj Mathews P Venugopal Vice Presidents (Marketing) Antony Powath Vijay Kurian Abraham Asst. Marketing Manager Anil Panicker Editorial Office Dhanam House 29/609, Cheruparampath Road, Kadavanthra, Cochin - 682 020, India Phone : 91-484-2315840, 2316494, 3297806 Fax : 91-484-2317872, Mumbai 501/502, Imperial Plaza, Corner of 27th & 30th Road, Near Nilgiri Garden, Bandra (W), Mumbai - 400 050 Phone : 91-22-2640 0829, 2640 0735 Fax : 91-22-2641 1894 E-mail:, New Delhi N. Kunju, 42-B, Pocket-I, Mayur Vihar New Delhi-110 091, Phone: 91-11-22755357 E-mail: US Correspondent Dr Louis P Rumao 621 Lockmoore Court, Rochester Hills, Michigan 48307-4229, Tel: +1 248 852 6634 Email: European Representative John Stone 73 Chaney Road, Wivenhoe Essex, CO79RR, England Sapphire Media, Tel: +44 (0) 1206 822320, M: + 44 (0) 7769 675232, Email: Australia Jacob Cherian, Ausker Pacific Pty. Ltd. Suite 1, 1401 Burke Road, East Kew Vic 3102 Melbourne Australia, Phone: 61 3 9859 8922 E-mail: South East Asia Esther Goh 5A-00-08 D’Kiara Apartment, Jalan Wawasan 4/12, Pusat Bandar Puchong, 47100 Puchong, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia, Mobile : 6019-272 0997 E-mail: Thailand Ms. Somruetai Patana-anek (Mott). Managing Director, Busgum Co. Ltd., 1093/115, 21st Floor, Central City Tower, Bangna-Trad Road (K.M.3), Bangna, Bangkok 10260, Thailand Phone: +66-2-3993946, 399-4374, 399-3896 Mobile 66-1-8429105, Email: Sri Lanka Yugantha Piyadasa No 11, Wanatha Road, Pamunuwa Maharagama, Sri Lanka, Phone: +94112897265 Mobile: +94 77 3175890 E-mail: Subscription rates 6 issues : Rs. 800, 12 issues : Rs. 1,600, 24 issues : Rs. 3,000, S. copy : Rs. 150 / US $20 Overseas: 12 issues : $200, 24 issues : $400 Printed by Five Star Offset Printers, Kochi 682016 for Raskin Arts, 3 Papa Industrial Estate, 1st Floor, 40, Suren Road, Near Cinemagic Cinema, Opp. Residency Hotel, Andheri (E), Mumbai 400 093, Edited by Kurian Abraham and Printed and Published by Antony Powath, 19 Vaikunth Apartment, Mount Mary Road, Bandra (West) Mumbai 400 050


The price challenge he rubber world is not going to be the same in the future, if the price fall of NR prolongs as predicted by experts. The indications are that NR prices will fall further and stay low till 2020.

After the strong recovery in 2010-2011 and the sustained growth that followed, the global tyre industry has now entered into yet another phase of slowdown. The European tyre market, in particular, has contracted substantially and is in a state of crisis. The US saw zero growth during 2012, while China saw its volumes increase and is projecting further increase in 2013. China now dominates the global tyre manufacturing sector, making more car and truck tyres than any other country. Yet, the scenario in most of the economies is that of slow growth. It is against this backdrop, the prolonged price fall in NR has been predicted by renowned rubber market experts including Dr Hidde P Smit, former Secretary General of the International Rubber Study Group (IRSG), and Dr Prachaya Jumpasut of the UK-based Rubber Economist. According to Dr Smit, prices may nosedive even below Rs US$ 2 a kg in the coming years with no major recovery likely until the turn of the decade. They attribute the price fall to the increased volume of NR flowing into the market surpassing the actual demand, consequent on massive re-plantations and new plantations undertaken in major rubber producing countries since 2005. Rubber price fall should have been heartening to the tyre industry in normal circumstances. But the continuing slump in the automobile sector, with its tell-tale impact on tyre demand, poses a different set of challenges for the industry. The most worrying factor is the prospect of millions of farmers quitting the scene for alternative opportunities in case of a prolonged price fall. On the plantation front, unrest is spreading among rubber growers across all major producing countries. Whether it’s in Thailand, Ivory Cost or Sri Lanka, they are on a warpath for a remunerative price. If the price falls further, the situation will aggravate. Many will walk out of the industry which will hit future supplies. The traders too are unhappy with violent fluctuations in the price. Reports from major NR producing countries say many are on the verge of going out of business. When the number of traders comes down, there is the possibility of rubber trade being monopolized by a few leading players and a further erosion in the farm gate price the growers are currently enjoying. A prolonged price fall will also impact replanting, new planting and new investments in the sector. Poor price will also scare away the already reluctant labour in the plantation sector. Definitely, the global rubber industry is passing through a period of unprecedented challenges. It’s high time the various stakeholders and the respective governments joined hands together and chalked out effective strategies for a sustainable growth of the industry. This alone can salvage the crisis-torn industry from its long-lasting woes.

Kurian Abraham

POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013




Vol No 4 Issue No 4







Home-ground advantages

he biggest advantage for a Taiwan or China-based company is the huge domestic market, which is bigger than any other in the world. This gives TSM Mould the right home ground where it can establish a BRAND OF EXCELLENCE strong base before spreading across export markets (Brand of Excellence, August/ September). The domestic market also presents an unenviable level of competition from other players, both home-grown and international, which encourages a company to offer products that are of highest quality excellence. This is not an option, but a must. The product simply has to be the best in the market or else it will be wiped out of existence. Jason Lin, President, TSM

RNI No. MAHENG/201034042



Prof Toshio Nishi, Tokyo Institute of Technology



Wally Olins, Chairman, Saffron Brand Consultants


Rahul Mammen Mappillai, Whole Time Director, MRF


Raman Rajagopalan, MD & CEO, CEAT Kelani Holdings

Winner of a race track


It was a surprise that motor sport received such a massive support in a country where even normal driving on city or country-side roads still remains a nightmare. Also, the high cost of fuel has made driving a luxury not many can afford. In spite of all these, the F1 race at Buddh attracted tens of thousands to the track and also millions of others to the television sets. All this because of the impeccable way the Buddh people hosted the race. The FIA must in fact switch the F1 calendar for 2014 in a way that suits the Indian race. Siddharth Patel New Delhi


TSM, like any other forward-looking company, has adopted modern technology. Product makers are these days giving top most priority to technology development in order to keep pace with the changing times. It is only natural that the biggest part of investment is on R&D and technology advancement. Michael Wang Shanghai

Retail gimmicks

ongratulations to ChangeMyTyre. com for creating an online portal for tyre shopping (New Spin to tyre Shopping, August/September). This has made buying tyre an easy job for many. Tyre-change is a boring task. One does it only because one has to. The online shopping has come as a big relief. I am sure more such facilities will open in India.

t will be a shame if Formula 1 GP skips India in 2014 because of scheduling issues (Back to Buddh, August/ September). The Buddh International Circuit near New Delhi has done a wonderful job of presenting a race track that is one of the fastest and best in the world. Having witnessed the races in 2011 and 2012 I can swear by the track and other facilities there on the thrill and excitement.

Most important factor is the crowd. On both occasions the stands were chocker-block with not a space left. The atmosphere was absolutely festive with sounds and colours one sees only in India. In 2011, when the race came to India for the first time, the crowd support took everybody by surprise. It was not just the rich and the famous who landed there. Ordinary race lovers like me were there in huge numbers, enjoying the speed and the incredible driving skills of champion drivers.

The tyre mould industry is by and large controlled by tyre makers in the sense that the moulds they make always have to be in the manner the tyre maker demands. It is the tyre maker who decides how the tyre must be and the mould to make that tyre needs to be designed only according to that specification.

Retail sector is one that has witnessed tremendous innovative changes. Wooing the potential customer has become an art. Who could have imagined a

Rubber avatars


opalkrishna Gandhi’s speech at the ATRC 2013 provided fascinating reading (Unerasable Images, August/ September). For one thing, it was a pleasant surprise to see a very different take on rubber and tyres in a publication that deals with such harsh subjects as retreading, rolling resistance, tyre noise etc. He has beautifully twined his speech to a subject that could have been another one of those boring lectures on tyre technology. Reading it, one realizes how big a role rubber plays in human life and in how many avatars! Those images that Gandhi recalled are there in everyone’s life. The eraser is among the most beautiful memories of childhood. He described its mission as “yogic” – erasing the bad and disappearing itself! That was a most apt description. I remember those flat,

POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013

rubber-smelling, carbon-stained tyre shop turning into a swanky stylish spa with coffee shops and kids play area etc! The retailer goes to any length to attract more people to his premises. Discount sales used to be the most popular retailing gimmick in the past. Less money naturally attracts all. But it has lost its credibility these days. People know this discount is a cleverly manipulated move and very few fall for it. Anupam Nair Kochi

colourfully designed erasers looked like candies and it was always tempting to give it a bite even when we knew that it tastes rubber! JV Mathew Bangalore

Public transport days


ith the automobile sales falling all over the world, especially in the socalled boom markets of Asia, one wonders what companies aim by launching new editions or concept vehicles. Various factors discourage people from owning a vehicle. It is not just the cost. We are moving towards a new phase where public mass transport systems are more appealing than ever before. This is good news for people and environment. Shyamcharan Dubai


POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013



ichelin, the French tyre major, has set up the world’s largest tyre manufacturing facility in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The Thiruvallur plant near Chennai is the largest investment made in Tamil Nadu by France. The 290 acre plant, which has been constructed at the SIPCOT Thervoy Kandigai Industrial park in Thiruvallur district amounts to Rs4 billion. It will employ , near here It will employ 1,500 people, according to the company website. Committed to preserving the region’s water resources, during the construction phase Michelin and its subcontractors did not draw any water from any borewells on the industrial site premises. The water was purchased from outside the industrial park. Once the SIPCOT Park is operational, water will be piped from the red hills reservoir located more than 20 kilometres away, the company said.



ndia’s top tyre maker MRF is to invest about Rs1000 crore in Andhra Pradesh, news paper reports said. The company is in talks with Andhra Pradesh government about its expansion plans, which would provide employment to over 1,000 people, The Economic Times reported.

With over 32 per cent of domestic market share MRF remains the leader in the Indian tyre market. The Chennai-based company has eight production plants in the country. It also exports its products to some 65 countries across the globe. The Andhra Pradesh facility contributed about Rs 4,300 crore of sales, or over a third of the total, in 2011-12, the ET report added. By end of 2011-12, MRF has Rs 2,853 crore of reserves and surplus in its books. MRF opened its first plant in Andhra Pradesh in 1990 at Sadasivpet and the second plant was set up at Ankanpally in 2009, which went on stream recently with an investment of Rs 424 crore, the report said.



ndia-based J K Tyres is eyeing South East Asia looking for fast track expansion possibilities. The strategy could be new acquisitions and new plants in these overseas locations where strong growth has been posted over the recent past. The company has nine plants in India and Mexico with an annual capacity of 20 million tyres. It acquired Mexican Tyre company Tornel along with its subsidiaries in 2008 at an investment of INR 270 crores. JK is also all set to expand its truck and bus radial and passenger car radial production at their Chennai with a possible Rs10 billion investment.

Continued on page_ _

POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013




irelli is all set to extend its association with Formula One as the official tyre provider for another five years, media reports said. The contract is, however, yet to be signed. The Italian tyre maker continued to bat the bricks from F1 drivers after the Korean GP over degradation. Paul Hembery, Pirelli Motor Sport Chief, told media before the Korean race that the deal with F1 management is sure to come despite the FIA’s statement that it would have the right from 2015 to decide the tyre provider for the racing series. Pirelli has called for a post-season test in Brazil with one or two teams, and has even suggested that it would help if it could conduct a test in Bahrain in January.

The company is ranked 37th globally by Tire Business’ 2013 Global Tire Company Rankings. In 2012 Brisa recorded sales of $792 million. The main reason behind the Aksaray investment is, according to Bridgestone, Turkey’s high GDP growth rate and a population of about 75 million with sound demographic composition. Turkey has become a major hub for tyre makers. In September Japan’s Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd. broke ground on a $500 million joint venture car and light truck tyre plant factory in Cankiri in partnership with Abdulkadir Ozcan Lastik Sanayi ve Ticaret A.S., a leading Turkish tyre distributor and parent of tyre maker Petlas Tyre Industry & Trade Co.



Red Bull’s Mark Webber, who had to retire from Korean GP, alleged that drivers were not very important for Pirelli. “The drivers aren’t super important - it is what other people want,” he was quoted by media as saying. Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso also slammed the early degradation of tyres “that won’t last a lap.”

ne of the wheels on the Mars rover Curiosity has developed a hole and NASA has shrugged it off saying it does not raise any concern. “Holes in the wheels are not a concern for the Curiosity mission.Such wear and tear is expected, especially in the thinnest areas of the wheels between the treads,” NASA said.

The 2014 F1 season will see dramatic changes in engine regulations, which will force changes in car performance, putting more pressure on tyre compounding. “Where we are in difficulty is in the compound area, because we have four compounds to cover 20-plus races on a car that is dramatically different,” Hembery said after the Korean GP.

The wheels of the Mars rover are made of tough aluminum, with some regions only .75 mm thick. They are designed to be thin and light to reduce weight and cost. The six-wheeled Curiosity has been moving on Mars since August 2012. It moves at a very slow speed – five centimeters per second.



he global tyre market is on a growth curve, thanks to the impressive performance by the motorcycle market, say analysts from TechNavio. According to a report from the market research team, the tyre market will grow at a rate of 5.01 per cent over a period of 2011-2015. At the same time rising raw materials and commodity products costs will continue to be major deterrent to growth. Some of the major players in the sector include Bridgestone, Michelin, Goodyear and Continental. The report also mentioned tyre makers like Pirelli, Sumitomo, Yokohama, Hankook, Cooper, Cheng-Shin and HangZhou ZhongCe. ‘’The growing global automotive tyre market, which includes light, medium and heavy vehicles, is one of the major trends that will lead to the growth of the global tyre market. The increasing demand for tyres from the global automotive market directly influences the demand for tyres globally and hence impacts the global tire market,” TechNavio’s automotive team was quoted by media as saying.



risa, the Turkish tyre company, is eyeing big time capacity expansion with a new passenger tyre plant in Aksaray Province in central Turkey. The $290 million plant will have a capacity of about 13,000 units a day and is expected to go on steam in early 2018, reports said. Brisa is a joint venture between Bridgestone Corp. and Turkish industrial conglomerate Sabanci Holdings. The Aksaray plant is the company’s second factory, the first one being in Izmit, which has a capacity of 29,000 units a day of passenger, light and medium truck tyres and has 1,745 employees. Brisa was established in 1988. Aksaray is about 140 miles south of Ankara and 300 miles southeast of Istanbul.


POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013

Business Insider reported that the hole on the left front wheel was spotted by Emily Lakadawalla of the Planetary Society from images received from the rover. Curiosity does not need perfectly round wheels to move around the planet’s surface because she doesn’t actually roll. It’s more like she’s shuffling along the ground, and for that all the wheels really need to do is “grip the ground,” the report quoted her as saying in her blog. Despite the US federal shutdown, which has impacted NASA’s functioning as well, Curiosity is continuing its Martian trek, according to Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which is run by California Institute of Technology and is under the space agency’s contract.



olaris has begun deliveries of its MV850 ATV fitted with the flat-proof Terrain Armor tyres to the US Special Operations Forces. The company has said that it has plans to introduce a retail version of the tyre soon, according to The innovation is more of a wheel/tyre combination that features a rubber tread band supported by a polymeric web for structure that is also able to deform like an air-filled tyre as it rolls over obstacles to provide cushioning, the report said. Polaris says the tyres can take a shot from a .50 caliber round without failing, and one was driven on for over 1,000 miles off-road after it was punctured by a railroad spike. They’ve been tested up to 5,000 miles on ATVs packed with a full combat load. Airless tyres cannot be punctured and they never go flat. But it clearly takes a lot of science to get the proper material that can stand up to the pressure of a multi-ton military vehicle sitting on top of it. The company had also donated several of the vehicles to the Salvation Army to assist with relief efforts in the wake of the Moore tornado in Oklahoma, and says they performed perfectly while traversing the debris left by the storm.


aboard as the new RMA board chairman,” said Charles A. Cannon, RMA president and CEO. “I am confident that the board and RMA’s membership will be well-served by Pete’s strong leadership skills over the next two years.”

Michelin’s Selleck to head RMA


ete Selleck has been elected as Chairman of the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA), the national trade association for manufacturers that make tyres in the US . Selleck, Chairman and President of Michelin North America Inc., succeeds Roy Armes, Chairman, President and CEO of Cooper Tire & Rubber Co., who served as RMA board chairman since 2011. “We are excited to have Pete

At Michelin, Selleck coordinates all of the operations in North America. They comprise 19 major manufacturing facilities, 22,000 employees and annual revenues in 2012 of $10.76 billion. His 31-year career with the company has included roles ranging from plant manager to president of Michelin’s worldwide truck tire business. “In addition to addressing the many regulatory and legislative issues impacting the US tyre industry, the RMA has a strong record of prosafety advocacy and education, and solid achievements in environmental stewardship,” Selleck said. “It’s a privilege to lead the organisation and its members to continue to strengthen our industry and positively impact those we serve.”

Harrelson named VP for Yokohama HRD resources for Dr. Pepper Snapple Group North America and Mexico, as well as senior director of human resources-supply chain for United Parcel Service. Yokohama Rubber has made a number of senior management changes. Four senior managers - two directors and two corporate offiicers - have had their responsibilities changed.


okohama Tire Corp. has hired Robert Harrelson as its new vice president of human resources and administration.In his new role, Harrelson will be responsible for human resource strategies, programmes and plans for all YTC’s North American operations. He replaces Rex Simpson, who recently retired. Prior to joining YTC, Harrelson worked as senior director of human


Tooru Kobayashi is now director and executive vice president; head of Corporate Planning Division; president of Multiple Business; president of Yokohama Business Association Corp. Hideto Katsuragawa is director and corporate officer; head of Tire Business Planning Division; head of Tire Overseas Sales & Marketing Division; head of Tire Logistics Division. Koichi Tanaka will be senior managing corporate officer; chairman of Yokohama Rubber (China) Co. Ltd. and chairman of Yokohama Tire

POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013

Niraj Thakkar re-elected AIRIA president


ll India Rubber Industries Association (AIRIA) has reelected Niraj Thakkar as its President for another one-year term. He was re-elected by the Managing Committee of AIRIA which met soon after the Annual General Meeting of the Association in Mumbai in September, 2013. During his first innings, Thakkar steered the rubber industry during one of the most challenging phases in Indian economy. Led by him the India Rubber Expo, Asia’s largest exposition in Rubber, has become a global event that attracts the best in the industry from across the world. Thakkar also succeeded to bring together all industry associations and bodies such as the IRI, AIRIA, ICRTMA, PPA, IRMRA, CAPEXIL, ATMA, together for the common good of Indian rubber industry. and now for this term, he has widened his responsibilities and set new goals to achieve them. Among the goals he has set for the second term is to persuade the government to formulate a National Policy on rubber, Thakkar told Polymers & Tyre Asia in an exclusive interview (See detailed interview on Page 22). A national policy on rubber can provide a vision to all the stake holders of the industry on how to establish a strong and successful manufacturing base for the rubber industry, he said.

Sales (Shanghai) Co. Ltd. Shigetoshi Kondo is corporate officer; president of Yokohama Rubber (China) Co. Ltd.; president of Yokohama Tire Sales (Shanghai) Co. Ltd.

Valentine named as ARI director of OEM sales manufacturers in the automotive tyre and wheel, powersports, outdoor power equipment, marine, RV and white goods industries.


RI Network Services, leading provider of website, software and data solutions that help dealers, distributors, and manufacturers Sell More Stuff, has appointed David Valentine as Director of OEM Sales. Valentine will be responsible for all of ARI’s sales activities for

“We are very pleased to add David to ARI’s management team as Director of OEM Sales,” said Roy W. Olivier, President and Chief Executive Officer of ARI. “David brings extensive industry expertise and a stellar track record of success to ARI. With more than a decade of experience working with dealers, distributors and OEMs in our vertical markets, David is an excellent fit for the ARI team.” Most recently, David served as Vice President of Sales for gFAXX, an online business intelligence source focused on the construction and agriculture

industries. Prior to joining gFAXX, David was the National Sales Manager for PowerSports Network and RV Web Services. David earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point. “I am excited to join a leading organisation such as ARI,” said Valentine. “ARI’s proven website, eCommerce, data and lead management solutions are unparalleled in the industries they serve. I have long-admired and respected ARI’s commitment to helping dealers, distributors and manufacturers grow their businesses, and I look forward to contributing to ARI’s ongoing success as Director of OEM Sales.

Pirelli rides Formula 1 rough weather


Kaushik Roy MD at Phillips Carbon Black


aushik Roy, has been appointed Managing Director, Phillips Carbon Black Business & Member, Group Management Board. Roy has a vast multi-functional experience of over two decades across different industries. He worked for long years with Apollo Tyres Ltd since 1990 albeit a brief stint with DLF Cement (currently Gujrat Ambuja Cement) from 1994 to 1997. Roy was the Management Board Member of Apollo Tyres Ltd. He was the tyre industry representative on the Industry Body of International Rubber Study Group, Singapore. Roy was also the Member of Governing Council, Rubber Skill Development Centre (RSDC), India. A regular visiting faculty for various management institutes, Roy has also delivered talks at various conferences held across the globe.

s the Formula 1 Grand Prix season heads to a climax for the 2013 season, Paul Hembery, Pirelli’s Motor Sport Director, finds it hard to keep away from criticisms and warnings thrown up by team drivers. The official tyre supplier, whose contract with F1 is expected to be extended for another five years, has had an unenviable year defending its compounding strategy and the soft-hard combinations for the races. Early degradation and blow-outs have practically blown out the fuse of many drivers, including Red Bulls’ Mark Webber and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonzo. The challenge that teams and drivers faced in getting their tyres to last the distance at the Korean GP left a number of top line stars frustrated, with both Alonso and Webber expressing particular anger. However, Hembery defended the tyres, however hard it was after what happened at the British GP earlier where a series of

blow-outs brought Pirelli right into the eye of a storm. Pirelli, however,has announced its tyre selections for the final three rounds in the 2013 F1 World Championship. It will take the soft and medium compound tyres to Abu Dhabi at the start of November while the medium and hard compounds tyres will be used in both the USA and in Brazil. The medium and hard tyres have also been nominated for this weekend’s race in Japan.

An M Tech (Mechanical) from IIT – KGP, India, and alumni of IMD, Switzerland, Kaushik Roy also has a degree in Business Administration from the University of Tokyo.

art manufacturing facilities. Apart from manufacturing carbon black, the company also manufactures various grades of specialty black.

Phillips Carbon Black Limited (PCBL), pioneers in carbon black in India, is the eighth largest carbon black manufacturer in the world. Part of the illustrious RPSanjiv Goenka Group of Companies, PCBL is known for its technical collaborations with foreign entities and state-of-the-

PCBL’s after sales service and strong technical support ensures a fiercely loyal base of customers from around the world. A few of our prized customers are CEAT, MRF, Apollo, Birla Tyres, Balkrishna, Goodyear, Sumitomo Tires, Bridgestone, Kumho Tires, among others. POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013


STRAIGHT TALK After being re-elected as President of All India Rubber Industry Association (AIRIA) for another term of one year, Niraj Thakkar is set with new goals. In his last term, Thakkar succeeded in bringing together all industry associations and bodies together for a common cause. This time around he has widened his focus covering new goals. In an interview with Polymers & Tyre Asia, Thakkar talked about his goals and the challenges for the rubber industry, the importance of a national policy for rubber and the preparations for Indian Rubber Expo (IRE) 2015.

FOR A NATIONAL RUBBER POLICY towards the activities of their committees.

What would be your priorities in this term?

Niraj Thakkar, President, AIRIA

By Sharad Matade


ow do you evaluate your first term as President of AIRIA?

Niraj Thakkar: It was quite a learning experience. The India Rubber Expo 2013 was a dual success for me. One in terms of the expo itself and the other in terms of the opportunity it offered for me to interact within the industry and to know issues affecting the members. One of the bigger challenges was the fragmentation of the industry in terms of the associations representing it. We had IRI, AIRIA, ICRTMA, PPA, IRMRA, CAPEXIL, ATMA and each one doing its bit for the industry but not in unison. On several occasions and platforms, I voiced this concern including formation of CIRI and I am glad we got working together for a common cause, the Indian rubber industry. Sharing a common vision and working jointly has made our tasks to deliver to each of our members easier and tangible. I am also very glad that Rubber Board has taken the lead for organising the India Rubber Meet 2014, this will further bring the entire rubber fraternity together including the planters, dealers, manufacturers. There is also a large shift in the working of the association and each of the conveners looks forward to delivering meaningfully


We have a long agenda ahead of us. I have mentioned on several occasions, the Indian rubber industry is a sunrise sector. This is evident with the double digit growth of exports YOY for the past 10 years and 20% YOY growth in consumption of SR. What is needed for this sector is a vision for growth and where it should position itself a decade from now. What is also needed to know is how we achieve this vision. This will be over and above dealing with the routine concerns of inverted duty structure, CESS on NR, import tariffs on RM etc. As we believe this to be a rapidly growing industry, one of the focus areas will be to identify for our members these key growth areas for the domestic as well as for exports. We are already on the process of identifying a right agency to assist us with this endeavour. Increasing AIRIA membership base is our biggest challenge. Having a new committee on membership under the leadership of Pilloo Aga, I am sure we will have a much stronger AIRIA. To spread the word about AIRIA, we also need the members to be more active in helping us help them. We have also decided to strengthen all the regions by appointing Business Development Officers to serve and deliver to our members more meaningfully. What are the challenges ahead for the industry’s growth? These include the role of not only the government, but also the rubber product manufacturers. While the government can look after the policy matters affecting the manufacturer, the manufacturer

POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013

himself must look after delivering the best quality product at the most reasonable price on time and to a global customer. The challenge for the manufacturer is to create a brand name for Indian rubber industry globally, something what has transpired in the IT industry, for a long term growth. While compromising on various aspects may be the easier for short term benefits, it certainly cannot be a long term strategy. Focused efforts on R & D, using better equipment for high productivity and quality products will be a necessity in time to come and high cost of capital cannot be a deterrent, it is just that the ROI terms will change. With increased acceptability of Indian Rubber products globally, the global customer too must change the perception of rubber products from India, that of being a reliable quality products supplier rather than being a cheap source of inferior products. The association has recently urged the government to formulate a National Policy for rubber on the line the national policies for petroleum, textile and information technology. Could you explain how this National Policy would help the industry to grow? While our population ensures that India will be a market for the future, what ensures that we will be a manufacturing base for the Indian rubber industry? National policy on rubber can be one such step that will provide a vision to all the stake holders of the industry on how this can be achieved. This will also be a document on the role that each stake holder (government, manufacturer, rubber board, planter, Continued on page - 120


Changing market-scape To compete with Indian tyre companies in their own domestic markets, international tyre makers have adopted an aggressive strategy to establish vast dealership networks and also strike up a competitive pricing strategy in order to woo consumers as well as to create brand awareness, especially in rural areas, says Vijay Kakade, Director - Automotive and Transportation Practice, Frost & Sullivan. In this exclusive interview with Polymers & Tyre Asia, Kakade says the working population, the “Gen-Y” and the growth of “She-conomy” will have considerable impact on demand for advanced features in both automobiles and tyres By Sharad Matade


he Indian automobile industry has not been having a great time for over a year with sales sliding continuously. The days of boom in the early years of the decade are now looked back in nostalgia. If 2011 was bad, then 2012 was even worse. In the midst of this far from rosy picture, a glimmer of hope has come up when the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) published its August 2013 report. It showed a 15% jump in sales in August compared with that in 2012. This happening after a nine-month uninterrupted fall surely has provided some hope for the industry. However, industry experts are reluctant to take the August jump as a clue for consistent upward movement. Industry bodies of auto and tyre sectors are still lowering forecast for this fiscal owing to the slowing economic growth, rising fuel prices, high interest rates and other factors.

consulting firm, told Polymers & Tyre Asia. Tyre industry has naturally been impacted by this auto slowdown, with manufacturers playing it safe and keeping their projections at realistic levels. Some Indian tyre majors, however, are expanding their wings through ambitious acquisitions in international markets, like how Apollo Tyres has announced its proposed Cooper acquisition plans. Also, JK Tyre and Apollo Tyres are reported to have expressed

“Taking into account factors such as the economic slowdown, inflation and high interest rates, growth in the Indian auto industry has slowed down this year and with elections coming up next year, the trend is likely to continue. The market growth can be expected to resume post FY2014,” Vijay Kakade, Director Automotive and Transportation Practice, Frost & Sullivan, the leading global growth Vijay Kakade, Director - Automotive and Transportation Practice, Frost & Sullivan


POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013

EXPANSION MODE: Despite the market challenges, tyre companies like Apollo Tyres have announced major global expansion plans

their interest to build plants in Indonesia that may cost at least $600 million. Kakade says this gives the message that depending on the domestic market alone would not be a wise idea any more. “It’s a mutual buy in, as both MNCs and domestic players are looking for expansion of foot prints that can be replicated. They are also mitigating the risks by not depending solely on the Indian market,” he said. The current economic situation apart, there are areas that provide highly positive signs for India, where the consumer majority are in the age group of 20-40. The growing middle class earns well and is ready to spend well too. And most importantly, there is the trend of the Indian economy turning out to be a “Sheconomy,” where an increasing number of working women is capable of defining the way money is to be spent, he points out. Kakade said: “India is expected to have the largest working population (population in 15-64 years of age) growth till 2020. The increase in the working age population is estimated to be a whopping 118 million till 2020. It is very clear that the Gen-Y population boom is here and the Gen-Y, who will be the target consumer for all OEMs, are tech savvy and better educated on the pros and cons of various technologies and safety features. “Another factor to be considered is the growth of ‘She-conomy.’ This is the growing population of working women, which is expected to account for 40% of the working population by 2020. Women are also expected to hold nine per cent of Directorships and seven percent of Executive Directorships. “These factors will directly lead to

increased demand for advanced features in both automobiles and tyres. This

The presence of global players will further build up the already intense rivalry among


he growing middle class earns well and is ready to spend well too. And most importantly, there is the trend of the Indian economy turning out to be a “She-conomy,” where an increasing number of working women is capable of defining the way money is to be spent

combined with increasing per capita expenditure and literacy, the demand for better features and better value for money has already begun to increase.” Almost 90% of the Indian tyre market is owned by Indian tyre companies. However, the arrival of a number of global players, including top companies, has changed the market scenario. These multi-national giants have strong financial back up and global experience. The battle for the market has shifted gears. According to Kakade, one can witness innovative marketing practices in the coming years. “The global majors are currently in the process of setting up their dealer networks in India and this is a slow process. In comparison, the established Indian players have extensive tyre dealership networks reaching the towns and rural out-backs. To compete with them the global majors need to have an aggressive strategy to establish vast dealership networks and also strike up competitive pricing strategies to woo consumers. “Another challenge the MNCs face is the poor awareness of global brands among consumers, especially in the rural sector.

the existing brands but will also bring in better tyre technology to the consumer.” Radialisation of tyres in commercial vehicles in India is another area where the slowdown has impacted adversely, he said. Many tyre companies, including Indian and foreign, are focusing on radial commercial tyres. However, to support growth of radialisation in CV tyres, infrastructure projects are not gaining any momentum due to liquidity crunch and other factors. Kakade said: “Radialisation of tyres, especially in the CV market, is bound to grow as the government is taking strong action against overloading. The ban on overloading of CV is being enforced strongly. The slowdown of infrastructure projects will have a negative effect on growth as the current road conditions reduce radial tyre life and increase costs.” According to Kakade, the initiatives that Indian vehicle makers have taken in the field of hybrid/ electric cars will remain on the slow track. “The current scenario is unlikely to change drastically by 2015 owing to factors such as poor infrastructure and power scenario,” he stressed.

POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013


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The Michelin Olsztyn plant in Poland

Clouds clearing over Europe By John Stone


nce again it has been a consistently busy time in Europe with many tyre companies making the news.

The European tyre market has been steady over the past two months with a fair number of important new tyres being launched by the leading brands along with several encouraging sales statistics. These may be signs of European tyre market holding on its own in a difficult trading period thanks to the weakness of the Euro 30

It has certainly been a busy period for Michelin who launched the next generation of their tough dump truck tyres which are extremely popular in quarries, surface mines and cement works plus motorway infrastructure projects, railways and dam construction. This latest versatile and adaptable OTR range has been specifically designed to carry payloads from 20 up to 50 tonnes over difficult terrain in all types of weather conditions. At the same time Michelin is considering expanding its production facilities at their Olsztyn plant in Poland. The plant was initially extended in 2009 for the production of car and van tyres. The company has also announced the introduction of a new Pilot Sport pattern for fitment on the Porsche Carrera GT and replaces the existing Pilot Sport PS2 tyre. This latest addition to the Pilot

POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013

series significantly enhances the overall handling of the complete range of Porsche performance cars. Finally Michelin has stated its intention to adopt a single global RFID standard to accelerate the development of this new technology. The company has also stated it will no longer charge “royalties� on any of its patents that overlap the use of these standards which applies to many global tyre standards including AIAG, B11, JA1F B21, ISO-17367, TMC RP 247 and GS1EPC TDS 1.5. At Bridgestone Europe the launch of the very latest Firestone agricultural tyre has taken place. The all new Firestone Maxi Traction Combine is now available in a number of initial size options for both the replacement and OE fitment sectors. A new Firestone European Agricultural tyre website has also been launched therefore announcing the return of the Firestone Agri range. In recent months Firestone has introduced the Maxi Traction IF, Performer and Row Crop series.

Bridgestone has also announced that its ultra high performance Potenza range has been selected as ‘factory fitment’ for Volvo’s new 350-horse-powered S60 Polestar saloon car. At the same time they have released of the first tyre to feature a unique ‘Sidewall Printing Process – Colourside in Europe.

Eyeing East It has also been a progressive period for Apollo Vredestein in The Netherlands who recently posted a six per cent rise in net profits during the first quarter of this year as part of a global performance report for the Apollo Tyre Group. Apollo is considering Eastern Europe as one of several strategic trading areas for future investment. Apollo Vredestein’s new European Distribution Centre in Enschede is now fully operational and adds a significant additional 22,000 square metres of storage and distribution capacity to cope with the continuous growth in production and sales. Following the acquisition of Maine Industrial Tire towards the end of last year, Swedish based Trelleborg Wheel Systems has announced plans to launch its Brawler range of large OTR solid tyres on a global basis. The Brawler range includes specialist tyres for some of the most demanding working environments in the waste, recycling and underground mining industries. Trelleborg has also reported a 5.6 per cent (year on year) increase in sales within the second quarter of 2013 (April to June) amounting to a net sales performance of Euros 129.53 million.

Meanwhile Pirelli has announced a further addition to its trailer and semi-trailer tyre range with the all new ST: 01 base pattern becoming the third type of its range. The ST:01 joins the ST:01 Neverending and Formula Trailer tyres ensuring that Pirelli now covers every application demand for the haulage sector. Benefits of the range include increased mileage and retreadability, low rolling resistance and durability.

ETRMA that sales performance in June 2013 across almost all tyre segments has significantly increased on the same period in 2012. It is particularly interesting to note that markets in Southern Europe, with weaker economies, are actually performing better than more financially buoyant regions such as Scandinavia. ETRMA considers these latest figures to possibly indicate a steady upturn in sales in the imminent future.

Goodyear has announced its impending intention to introduce a whole new generation of truck tyres into the European market in September, which will consist of the Kmax and Fuelmax patterns for steer, drive and trailer applications. Both the Kmax and Fuelmax ranges specialise in providing optimised longevity and fuel efficiency and represent a refreshing new direction from other brand designs with an increased emphasis on economy for both long and regional haulage operations.

Finally data from Bridgestone Europe’s current Safety Campaign reports that from an inspected 28,700 cars throughout Europe, a staggering 78.3 per cent were found to be under inflated at varying levels.

Cooper Tire has announced the arrival of its all-new 17-inch wet weather Rallycross tyre which has been directly evolved from the company’s development of a special sports pattern for the European Rallycross Championships. The launch follows extensive, competitive testing in Germany, Norway and Sweden and new tyre has already competed in competitions in France and Portugal and achieved the fastest lap times.

Better performance Other non product news in Europe includes recent sales data released by

The data, which originates from Bridgestone’s annual European Safety Check Workshops also shows that 25.6 per cent (one in four tyres inspected) were found to be worn below the legal 1.6mm of tread depth. So the above news round-up from Europe once again reveals a steady market with a fair number of important new tyres being launched by the leading brands along with several encouraging sales rise statistics therefore further endorsing the growing believe that slowly but surely the European tyre market is not only ‘holding its own’ in a difficult trading period thanks to the weakness of the Euro but actually gaining in sales. However the report on tyre safety from Bridgestone is not so good and confirms that tyre safety campaigns directed at drivers in Europe need to be increased and promoted as much as possible.

POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013


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Spare tyre choice A spare tyre is something most of us don’t think about – until we need it! In fact, the term “spare tyre” is generally a misnomer, since it is an entire wheel with a tyre mounted on it for use as a spare. There are not many who know what type of spare tyre the vehicle is equipped with and only a few are able to get the vehicle going after a tyre blow-out on the road. While the debate on deleting the spare from the boot to reduce vehicle weight continues, it remains a fact that a spare in the boot makes the driver breathe easy on long lonely roads By Louis Rumao


he early days of motor travel took place on primitive roads that were littered with stray horseshoe nails. Punctures (flat tyres) were all too common, and required the motorist to remove the wheel from the car, demount the tyre, patch the inner tube, re-mount the tyre, inflate the tyre, and re-mount the wheel. Today, we do this process for our bicycle tyres. Blowouts are becoming rarer with advanced tyre technology and safer roads. Since 2006, cars have carried mandatory tyre pressure monitoring systems that alert drivers when tyres are dangerously low. Keeping tyres properly inflated go a long way to preventing blowouts. Tyres are also built in such a way that even when punctured, a tyre can remain


POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013

safe to drive on for a number of miles, at least long enough to get the driver safely to a shop. All of these factors mean spare tyres have become dead weight. Spares are being left out of cars to make them more fuel-efficient. Decades ago, nearly every car came with a fullsize spare tyre. But in recent years, fuel economy requirements, trunk space considerations and safety concerns have prompted automakers to shift towards smaller temporary spares or no spares at all. It is estimated that one in seven new cars is delivered with a tyre inflation kit in lieu of a spare in order to save weight and improve fuel economy. One of the justifications mentioned for no-sparetyre trend is safety. Changing a flat on the side of

the road can be dangerous, although no definitive statistics are available as to how many people die each year changing tyres. Still, when a driver goes to change a flat and finds nothing in the trunk, they risk being stranded, especially in rural areas where cell phone reception is spotty. Of course, if you want to lug around a spare, you can get one as an option for an additional cost. Among passenger vehicles, full-sized spares are usually provided for sport utility vehicles (SUV) and light trucks, since a “limited use” spare would adversely affect these vehicles with higher centers of gravity. While they are the biggest and heaviest of the spares, full-size tyres offer virtually no performance loss. If you have a matching spare, you have the flexibility to get the damaged tyre fixed at your convenience, rather than immediately, which you would have to do if you had a temporary spare. Full-size spares must be incorporated into the vehicle’s rotation pattern to ensure a long tread life and balanced handling characteristics.

Space-saver spares Many vehicles come with a “limited use” spare tyre, also known as a “space-saver,” “donut” or “compact” spare tyre — in an attempt to reduce cost, lower the vehicle’s weight, and/or to save on the space. These supposed benefits are highly debatable - a space-saver is typically only 7kg lighter than a full-sized wheel and in some cars the so-called “space-saver” may actually save little to no space. Also, due to the different size of a spare, compared to regular wheel, electronic stability control and traction control systems will not operate properly and should be disabled until the original wheel is restored. Space-saver spares also severely compromise the braking (especially on cars not fitted with anti-lock brakes) and handling of the car. Automakers have shifted to space-saver spare tyres because they offer the best balance between size and usability. Temporary spares are the most common choice for automakers and are found on 54 percent of 2012 models.

Run-flat tyres Vehicles equipped with run-flat tyres have no spare at all. Run-flats can either automatically seal a puncture or have reinforced sidewalls that allow them to operate with little to no tyre pressure. Once a run-flat tyre has been punctured and lost its air pressure, the vehicle’s tyre-pressure monitoring system (TPMS) will notify you that the tyres are below spec and the vehicle is in “run-flat mode.” You will have to keep your speed under 50 mph, but you can still continue to drive (up to 50 miles) until you are able to find a tyre shop or service station. The advantage of run-flats is that you don’t have to stop your vehicle in an inopportune time or dangerous location, like the side of the freeway. Most run-flat tyres can be repaired unless they are

specifically marked otherwise. If a driver needs a replacement, run-flats are often more expensive than standard tyres. Additionally, not every tyre shop carries run-flat tyres, which could be problematic for drivers outside of bigger cities. Run-flats also have some performance trade-offs. Since run-flat tyres have reinforced sidewalls, the tyres are heavier and have a stiffer ride. They also have more rolling resistance, which can affect fuel economy. the past five years, use of run-flat tyres has Full-sized spares Over increased 81 per cent, but they are standard on are usually only about 9 per cent of new vehicles. Traditionally, carmakers use run-flat tyres on sports cars, but in provided for recent years they have started to use them for other sport utility cars, too. BMW, whose luxury cars have sportier vehicles (SUV) tendencies, has made run-flat tyres standard on and light trucks, nearly every model. Even the newer, decidedly Toyota Sienna minivan has a model that since a “limited non-sporty comes with run-flat tyres. use” spare A tyre repair kit, also called an inflator or mobility would adversely kit, takes up the least amount of space in a trunk affect these because no spare is involved. Instead, you get a kit consisting of an air compressor and an integrated vehicles with bottle of a thick, viscous sealant. This is the one higher centers that often surprises new car buyers, especially if the of gravity. dealer doesn’t tell the car buyer about the kit. Some car models do have a “no spare” disclosure on the While they are inside door panel, but the best way to know for sure the biggest is to check with your dealership or rental company and heaviest before hitting the road. of the spares, The advantage of these kits is that you don’t have to jack up the car or remove the tire. Unfortunately, full-size tyres these often do not work in the case of larger offer virtually punctures, and are useless in the event of a blowno performance out. loss. If you have a Future of spares matching spare, In the immediate future, automakers will continue you have the to look for ways to shed weight from their vehicles. flexibility to get It’s imperative to meeting increasing fuel economy requirements. Over the last two years, some OEM’s the damaged have moved more toward inflator kits as standard tyre fixed at your equipment. For those who prefer temporary spares, convenience, OEM’s offer them as a dealer-installed option that typically costs about $100. rather than Truck buyers can rest assured that their vehicles will immediately, come with full-size spares for the foreseeable which you would still future. Consumers will continue to demand full-size have to do if you spares for the type of work they do, towing trailers had a temporary and going off-road. spare Although carmakers are working to come up with new spare tyre options for their cars, the reality is that most people just reach for the phone when they have a flat. “Our research says that only about half the people who have spare tyres actually use them when they have a flat,” says Dave Cowger, engineering group manager for General Motors Tire Engineering. “Because of the convenience of roadside assistance, many of them make that call, even if they have a spare.” POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013



Caroline Perrotta, Chairperson, Overseas Automotive Council

The fact that the global economy is picking up steam is reflected in the buoyancy felt among automotive manufacturers. There are indications of strong positive views of future global and emerging market growth, says Carol Perrotta, the chairperson of the Overseas Automotive Council (OAC) of the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA), the first woman to hold the Council’s highest office since it was founded in 1923. In an interview she notes that despite the continuing drop in the cost of owning electric or hybrid cars, green vehicles are yet to catch up with the oil-fuelled peers

Automotive industry

bounces back news to deliver to the global automobile industry. After many sluggish years, it is showing positive signals of robust growth in mature markets and emerging economies, she told Polymers & Tyre Asia in an interview. However, what might dishearten green enthusiasts campaigning for sustainable transportation is that despite the rising competitiveness of environment-friendly electric and hybrid cars, they could not match the growth seen in vehicles powered by internal combustion engines.

PTA News Bureau


arol Perrotta, the first woman to hold the top post of Overseas Automotive Council of the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association founded in 1923, has good


Perrotta, who is Manager of Operations at the Michigan-headquartered Intraco Corp that sells and distributes products on six continents, will be chairing the Council for two years. While the US auto market is bouncing back, the European vehicle makers are

POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013

witnessing stabilisation after five years of steady decline. China will continue to be an automotive powerhouse, building additional volume equivalent to 35 new auto assembly plants by 2019, compared with an equivalent of 10 for India and just four for the US during the same time period. Quoting indicators, she said growth in global production by 2023 is expected for light, medium and heavy vehicles will be 62 per cent for Asia-Pacific, nine per cent for Western Europe and seven per cent for the North American Free Trade (NAFTA) region.

Green choice Despite rising oil prices, hybrids and electric vehicles will remain below 10 per cent of the US market through 2016. “Growth in the sales of vehicles with

alternative powertrains will be limited by consumer concerns about costs and function,” says Perrotta. “Hybrids and electric vehicles have captured the imagination of the buyers, but based on studies few consumers will buy one. By 2020 gas-electric hybrids and electric vehicles will account for 5.2 million sales globally, which is approx 7.3 per cent of the total market.” She noted that the cost of owning an electric car is now becoming competitive with its gas-powered peers. “The shortrange plug-in hybrid electric vehicles are already cost competitive with cars powered by internal combustion engines as well as hybrid electric vehicles, based on five years of ownership and approx 14K miles driven each year,” she said.

Malaysia while undercutting advantages in existing hubs such as South Korea or Mexico who have gained with their own free trade deals.”

reducing the total and helping the industry to continue to grow. “AASA strongly supports continued consumer education and reasonable, safety-friendly and costeffective vehicle inspection programmes.”

Currently diesel car registrations increased by 24.3 per cent in the US from 2010-2012 and hybrids are up 33 per cent. This consistent growth in clean diesel registrations in the last three years is particularly noteworthy since it has occurred during an economic recession.

Until recently, India was seen as a potential new Asian tiger, powered by its globalised information-technology industry, and automakers were among the biggest beneficiaries of a boom in consumer-driven growth. Now they are reeling as investors pull back from emerging markets around the world.

“Diesel vehicle sales are expected to increase significantly as more vehicles reach the US market. In addition, clean diesel vehicles sales are projected to increase as the US moves towards increasing fuel-efficiency standards to 54.5 mpg by 2025,” she said.

“Business in India faces daunting bureaucratic hurdles stifling manufacturing. US companies are exhibiting higher levels of confidence domestically and we’re starting to see this translate into increased acquisition activity in emerging markets,” she noted.

Trade barriers

The most popular geographic targets for US companies in the first half of 2013 were Brazil, India, South American countries, South and East Asia and Central America and Caribbean.

In order to push up auto growth globally, top trade officials from the US, Europe and Japan are circling the globe to rewrite international trading norms. Reporting this, the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA) has said that their attempts are to negotiate the rewriting of their trade laws. “As a once-in-a-generation chance to lower costs and ease regulatory headaches, automakers have rushed to the table to request scrapping tariffs, market barriers and conflicting standards that affect the basic economic calculus of which cars get sold where. These negotiations are in the early stages and many points of contention remain,” Perrotta said. The auto industries’ top executives are already creating deals that could crosspollinate showrooms to make it costeffective to sell European wagons and minicars in the US and send US-built SUVs and muscle cars to Europe. Says Perrotta: “The impact could ripple around the world, creating a new auto production base in a country such as

While the aftermarket faces significant opportunities and challenges, changes are certain. “We see growth again in traditional market drivers such as population growth, increasing disposable income and fuel economy improvement,” she said.

Future trends The aftermarket’s future will be shaped by suppliers who differentiate. Suppliers are under increased pressure to provide their channel partners additional services that strengthen their value proposition to customers. While this pressure will only increase in the future, suppliers will seek leverage from differentiated services and support to grow profit. Currently the unperformed and underperformed automotive maintenance represents a significant 27 per cent of the total aftermarket potential, but the larger concern is vehicle safety. Customers who avoid or delay maintaining their vehicles pose a potential safety risk to themselves, families and everyone travelling the roads and highways. Stronger economic growth and increased employment could reduce the cyclical component of unperformed maintenance,

Vehicle parc (population of vehicles on the road) will grow again, and it will increase over 10 million units over the next couple years creating opportunities for the top winning brands which are Toyota, Nissan, Hyundai, Honda and Kia. Telematics creates new opportunities to establish lasting relationships with customers. Service reminders will be voice-driven in the car of the future and repairs and upgrades will become possible by remote download. E-tailing will create opportunities if leveraged correctly. The industry will see as much as 15 per cent annual growth for the aftermarket e-tailing from 2012-2018 expecting that over half of all DIYers (do-ityourself) will start their purchase process online. Better partnerships across the value chain will have impact on sales and profitability, with sales gains, lower costs and improved margins as a result. The US new vehicle industry is thriving and leading the economy out of the recession. Several major OEMs are all focussed on gaining or at least retaining the market share. “We will continue to see vehicle downsizing. The dominant powertrain in the near term will continue to be the internal combustion engine, with a focus on improving fuel economy while retaining performance,” Perrotta added.

POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013



Not waste, but commodity The South African government’s ground-breaking tyre recycling and disposal programme is not only contributing to the cleaning up of the environment but it’s also generating US$70 million in annual revenues. The Integrated Industry Waste Tyre Management Plan, being implemented by the Recycling and Economic Development Initiative of South Africa (REDISA), has already gained global recognition. It utilises a sizeable chunk of the revenue thus generated to develop a sustainable tyre recycling industry in the country. CEO of the non-profit organisation Hermann Erdmann says REDISA is unique not only in Africa, but globally PTA News Bureau


he Recycling and Economic Development Initiative of South Africa (REDISA) is recognised as a unique initiative in building a sustainable solution to tyre disposal and recycling problem. It coordinates the collection of funds from tyre producers through the Waste Management Fee rules and then utilises them for the development of South Africa’s tyre recycling industry. “The single largest expense is funding the reverse logistics involved in collecting and aggregating the waste tyres for delivery to recyclers via intermediate storage depots where appropriate,” REDISA CEO Hermann Erdmann told Polymers & Tyre Asia.

“It’s important to note specifically that REDISA does not engage in tyre recycling itself. It’s, and is required to remain, strictly independent of recycling operations,” he clarified. “Its role is to administer the funds and the overall programme in the best interests of the country as a whole,” he said in the interview. REDISA has been running at full speed only since the past few months, and is well on the way to achieving its first year targets. The fee collection system is fully operational and the first depots and transport contracts have been set up in pilot operations, with full rollout commencing before the end of the year, he said. It is expected that the waste tyre management fee will generate about US$71 million a year, and 80 per cent of it will be used to develop a sustainable tyre recycling industry. The scheme has legislative backing in the form of Waste Tyre Regulations of 2009 under the National Environmental Management: Waste Act (2008). Erdmann says he looks at waste tyres not as waste, but as a commodity. Thanks to the fee collection, tyre disposal has become economically viable. It is

needless to say that REDISA is unique not only in Africa, but globally. Indeed the Global Economic Symposium held this October in Kiel, the capital of the most populous northern German state of SchleswigHolstein, had devoted a whole session to discuss the REDISA model because of its novelty and significance. Many tyre disposal programmes in other parts of the world do not have regulatory backing and experience ‘free-rider’ rates (producers who do not contribute to the costs of recycling) of 30 per cent or more. In many countries the process is further plagued by frauds which are very difficult to control. The reason cited is that recycling fee is collected at the retail stage rather than at producers’ level,” the REDISA chief explained.

Unique institution Under the South African rules it is compulsory for tyre manufacturers to register with REDISA and it has the authority to supervise and monitor the work of the members. Erdmann said that “because, there are relatively few tyre producers in South Africa, it is much easier to manage the collection process.” The collection is backed by clear-cut functional systems such as audit procedures to verify compliance, cooperation with Customs, and a ‘whistle-blower’ service to allow reporting (anonymously if requested) of illegal importers.” Although REDISA has no enforcement powers as such, compliance with its plan, which has the force of law, is compulsory. In fact non-compliance with the mandatory procedures is considered a criminal offence. “Offenders can be prosecuted, and there is a specific office for environmental law enforcement to deal with this and other environmental transgressions,” he has pointed out. Elaborating on the key provisions of the Integrated Waste Tyre Management Plan, Erdmann elaborated that under the rules tyre producers have to pay a waste management fee based on tyre mass. All producers pay the same fee per kilogram. So the fee is not a competitive factor. The fee collected by REDISA is used to

subsidise informal and small collectors, establish a network of waste tyre depots, and support recyclers engaged in transportation, storing and recycling of waste tyres. The plan has several objectives apart from having to deal effectively with waste tyres. He says that it also aims to create jobs, drive the formation of new businesses, especially by the small and medium enterprises, target specific disadvantaged social segments and reduce the national carbon footprint. REDISA also supports the R&D activities of the tyre and tyre recycling industries, drive programmes to extend tyre life and optimise the total contribution to GDP and remain independent of the tyre and tyre recycling industries. Transporters, who will receive payments based on weight and distance, will be given specific service orders to collect a given quantity of tyres from a collection point, typically a tyre dealer, and deliver them to a depot or recycler where they will be weighed in. Like in many countries, South Africa is also witnessing an increase in vehicle population, which means the challenge of handling the complex problems of disposal of end-of-life tyres. There is no doubt that developing sustainable ways of disposing used tyres is a serious issue before the government.

Hermann Erdmann CEO, REDISA

These pose significant problems, Erdmann said pointing out that South Africa introduces some 270 000 tonnes of tyres annually into the market. “The end-of-life tyres end up in landfill, or are illegally dumped, or are illegally burned typically for the scrap value of the steel in them.” The REDISA chief says less than 10 per cent of used tyres are either burned in a controlled environment for energy recovery, or recycled into rubber crumb. “Most disposal practices pose various health hazards in the short or long term.” Disposal of end-of-life tyres also results in enormous economic burden on the government and society as landfill volume is increasingly expensive and difficult to expand. REDISA is a unique green model that other countries grappling with end-oflife tyres can adopt. POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013



GREENER OPTIONS: LANXESS is on the road to develop more green tyre rubbers and put them on the road even faster

New SR grades for tyre making The two new synthetic rubber grades from LANXESS is expected to support the Green Tyre sector. According to the global specialty chemicals leader, these grades will help the process of making tyres with outstanding low rolling resistance. Neodymium polybutadiene rubbers are key-enablers for the production of high performance tyres with a low rolling resistance and therefore reduced fuel consumption leading to less emissions, says Dr. Joachim Grub, Head of the Performance Butadiene Rubbers business unit at LANXESS BY PTA News Bureau The two new easy processing Neodymium Polybutadiene (NdPBR) rubber grades developed by LANXESS, the global specialty chemicals leader, have brought more options for tyre development. Buna Nd 22 EZ and Buna Nd 24 EZ are characterised by high molar masses necessary to fabricate tyres with outstanding low rolling resistance, but are still exceptionally easy to process due to the company’s new rubber modification technology.


POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013

The new modified NdPBR grades represent attractive alternatives for the high performance NdPBR Buna CB22 and Buna CB24 rubbers already widely applied in the tyre industry, says the company. Both grades are now available in sample and industrial size quantities. “Within the last years, energy efficiency without negative influence on other properties has become one of the main issues in the tyre industry as automobiles

Buna Nd 22 EZ can be processed in the same way as Buna CB24, but matches the dynamic performance of the high-Mooney grade Buna CB22, whose processing was much more demanding. Buna Nd 24 EZ gives performance levels roughly equivalent to Buna CB24, but is as easy to process as a cobaltpolybutadiene rubber

are responsible for about 26 % of carbon dioxide emissions in the EU, Dr. Joachim Grub, Head of the Performance Butadiene Rubbers business unit at LANXESS, said. “However,” he added, “energy saving tyres can help to reduce CO2-emissions on roads substantially. Especially our neodymium polybutadiene rubbers are recognised as a keyenabler for the production of high performance tyres with a low rolling resistance and therefore reduced fuel consumption leading to less emissions.”

rubbers such as NdPBR Buna CB22 and Buna CB24. They show similar properties but are characterised by considerably easier processing characteristics,” Grub said. Buna Nd 22 EZ, for example, can be processed in the same way as Buna CB24, but matches the dynamic performance of the high-Mooney grade Buna CB22, whose processing was much more demanding. Buna Nd 24 EZ gives performance levels roughly equivalent to Buna CB24, but is as easy to process as a cobaltpolybutadiene rubber.

One of the key properties of these rubbers is their narrow polydispersity which leads to higher molar mass. “The higher a rubber’s molar mass, the lower can be the tire‘s rolling resistance,” explains Grub. “So, high molecular weight NdPBR is superior to other PBR types with broader polydispersity in key properties such as rolling resistance and abrasion.

“This enables tyre manufacturers to take their products’ performance to the next level. And we believe, this is still not the end of the flagpole: LANXESS is not just the world‘s largest rubber supplier relying purely on sophisticated R&D alone.

“However, high molar masses until now were correlated with high-Mooney viscosities, presenting a crucial hurdle to overcome in order to get the best performance out of regular high performance NdPBR rubbers. The processability of these high molecular weight polymers has been the key issue for years and an important challenge for us to help our customers. For those who have long mastered to utilise the most sophisticated high molecular weight polymers, the new materials may provide an opportunity to gain productivity. Now we can offer our customers a promising solution utilising new LANXESS rubber modification technology.”

Long chain branching This modification technology of the new NdPBR grades Buna Nd 22 EZ and Buna Nd 24 EZ is designed to create long chain branching, which accelerates the fast and reliable incorporation of fillers into the rubber matrix and improves processing. In addition, a proprietary chemical modification of the chains enhances the rubber/ filler interaction, especially with carbon black in sidewall compounds maintaining the dynamic performance of the tyres made with the new grades at the high level of LANXESS standard NdPBR grades. NdPBR is rarely used on its own but in blends with other polymers particularly solution SBR in tyre tread formulations using silica as the filler. It has been shown that the modification also enhances the inter polymer phase distribution. This will lead to improved distribution of the filler in the resultant compound. In addition, the LANXESS rubber experts have achieved a significant increase in the rubber’s tackiness on the mill without adding any processing aids. “These two new modified NdPBR grades represent attractive alternatives for high performance

“We are also proactively listening to the rubber industry as can be seen in the fact that we are testing our new tire rubbers using very relevant conditions in dedicated tyre testing laboratories resulting in the outstanding performance of our AA concept tyre we presented in September 2012. We are still on the road to develop even, greener‘ tyre rubbers and put them on the road even faster.”

New nitrile rubber LANXESS had also introduced Krynac 4955 VP, the new high-ACN nitrile rubber (NBR), which has optimised vulcanisation properties and increased metal adhesion. The new material also features much improved flow properties for fast and reliable filling of large moulds, without the need to add large quantities of plasticisers. “When rubber items need to work reliably in contact with oil and gas, nitrile rubber is often the answer,” said Robert Stäber from LANXESS in Leverkusen. The chemical component acrylonitrile (ACN) gives this elastomer its excellent oil resistance. The higher the proportion of ACN in the rubber, the less it swells, for example in warm oil. Nitrile rubbers with an acrylonitrile content of over 39 per cent are regarded as particularly oil-resistant high-ACN grades. “LANXESS has a number of these grades, including Krynac 4975, in its portfolio that have been used to great success in heavy-duty applications in the oil and gas industries for some time,” Stäber added. However, in this rubber the benefit of high oil resistance comes at the price of a comparatively high viscosity. Although LANXESS’ Krynac 4450 and 4045 are high-ACN NBR grades with significantly enhanced flow properties, their oil resistance cannot not quite match that of the 4975 grade due to their lower ACN content. LANXESS is currently on track with the construction of the world’s largest NdPBR plant in Singapore. The German specialty chemicals company is investing roughly EUR 200 million in a 140,000 metric tons per annum facility on Jurong Island. The facility will be the largest of its kind globally and will serve the growing market for “Green Tyres”, especially in Asia. POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013


cOver story


FRON TIE There is far too much scepticism about what futurists think of developments in vehicles, tyres and sustainable mobility. One cannot dismiss their forecasts as wishful thinking. The tyre and automobile industry is at an inflection point. Top tyre researchers, and those who watch developmental trends, caution that it is perilous to ignore the frenetic technological changes that are shaping the very future of transportation. At a time when auto sales are scaling new heights, tyre makers have no choice but to innovate in order to keep up with the pace in vehicle developments. Change is the only constant, and tyre engineers should not skid off the rapidly shifting track that represents rising consumer expectations on greener mobility 50

POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013




istinguished tyre researcher Chuck Yurkovich says tyre companies that are unwilling or unable to keep up with the pace of technology developments would soon fall by the wayside. The current situation is different from what was in the early 1970s, the Vice President of Global Research and Development with Cooper Tire said while addressing The Tire Society’s 32nd annual conference on Sept 10. “Although tyres are still round and black to consumers, they’re dramatically different than they were in that timeframe,” he noted. Tyre manufacturers have to embrace disruptive innovations in

order to survive. This is the challenge they have to take up. This assumes greater importance in the context of the dramatic changes happening in the transportation sector. Government regulatory authorities and consumers are demanding greener and sustainable practices. With more people seeing their income levels rising, the demand for individual transportation is also increasing. The mobility sector is on expansion mode worldwide as never before. And green is the theme that is driving this growth. Analysts estimate that over 1.5 billion tyres are currently manufactured annually

valued at US$160 billion. This is expected to touch US$203 billion by 2017, with green tyres accounting for 35 per cent. The trend indicates that the tyre industry and suppliers should sharply focus on developing green technologies and product strategies. Dr James A Popio, General Manager and Director of Engineering at Ohiobased Smithers Rapra’s Ravenna Laboratory, told Polymers & Tyre Asia in an interview that with the focus on vehicle fuel-efficiency, there will be more demand for new materials and designs for tyres. There is a need to intensify research on improving fuel-efficiency by

POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013


cOver story

FUTURISTIC: Volkswagen’s futuristic green car concept. (Photo courtesy:

producing tyres of low rolling resistance. There should be greater use of eco-friendly fillers. Some companies have started using innovative fillers derived from naturallygrown products such as starch and rice in a bid to reduce or replace carbon black, which is produced from petroleum. Attempts have also been made in the commercial use of bio-oils such as orange oil, soybean, corn and canola. Manufacturing light-weight and low-rolling resistance tyres is the major challenge before tyre producers, says the Istanbul (Turkey)-based technologist and independent industry consultant Ertugrul Yilmaz. He said in an interview that the use of silica in the tread compound is one solution, but even this is not enough by itself for producing tyres that are specifically meant for electric vehicles. Another option is to develop ‘skinny and tall’ tyres with larger outer diameter fitted on large diameter rims and inflated with higher air pressure, Yilmaz said. This will certainly find wider usage in the future although the switch-over to this may be at a slower pace. “However, in my view we shall still have today’s wide and handsome low-aspect ratio tyres on the market as internal combustion engine vehicles will still be running on the roads.”

Game changer For Masataka Hiro, Assistant Manager of Japan’s Sumitomo Rubber Industries, his priority is to replace as much fossil resource-based materials as possible from the tyre. The company, which produces ENASAVE 97 eco-friendly tyres, aims to replace the remaining 3 per cent of the fossil resource-based materials. Sumitomo has developed a proprietary


technology for synthesising material compounds from biomass materials using a special catalyst .It has also succeeded in adopting plantbased oil for the production of carbon black which has a performance level equivalent to that of conventional carbon black, he confirmed in an interview.

The main reason is that these are sold at a premium thereby limiting wider market penetration. Most tyre makers have taken up research initiatives for green substitutes under pressure of government regulations on limiting petroleum use and emission restrictions. But cost is an inhibiting factor.

The feedstock for most of the industry’s polymers and other chemicals are still derived mostly from oil. Therefore, tyre makers should develop new technology and raw material sourcing that would put products on a much more affordable level even during times of economic downturn. “This must be accomplished with no trade-off in performance or compromise in safety or durability,” Yurkovich said.

Manufacturers are facing market resistance because of the pricing factor although there is a steady growth in demand for green tyres. This is discernible from studies that have put the global market for green tyres at about US$44.8 billion in 2012 or 28 per cent of the total tyre market. This is predicted to increase to US$70.6 billion or 35 per cent of the total market share by 2017.

Researchers are still looking to replace all synthetic rubber that is being used in the tyre. They are examining the commercial possibilities of Russian dandelion and guayule, which have been identified as viable sources of natural rubber besides Hevea. Most non-Asian tyre companies want to reduce NR dependence because of price volatility and supply uncertainties. In theory there are more than 1,200 types of plants from which natural rubber could be derived.

Popular demand for tyres that are manufactured using sustainable materials is certainly on the increase. Following regulations, such as the European Union tyre labelling legislation, consumers are in a better position to make informed choices by looking at tyre labels that show fuel-efficiency, grip and noise. Consumers can pick green tyres on the basis of low rolling resistance and the materials used in their manufacture.

Research on bio-based alternatives to petroleum-derived isoprene for the production of synthetic rubber and other elastomers has picked up recently. In fact a prototype tyre was made from bioIsoprene from renewable raw materials. Experiments are also on with micronized rubber powder made from end-of-life tyres that could at least partially substitute virgin rubber. What is disconcerting is the low off-take of tyres that use such sustainable products.

POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013

There is certainly growing global concern over the use of fossil fuel. About 45 per cent of the oil is used for road transport. Passenger cars consume up to 20 per cent in terms of tyre rolling resistance, while similar figure for trucks is 30 per cent. It is said that about 9 per cent of global oil consumption is directly related to tyre use. There is a compelling need to reduce this. Certainly manufacturers are under mounting pressure to use new raw materials and sustainable technologies

to enhance fuel-efficiency through lower rolling resistance, slash tyre weight without losing performance benchmarks, and develop processes to reduce the carbon footprint. However, it may take years before the full sustainability objectives for tyres take hold of the market. Japanese tyre major Bridgestone has set 2050 as the target year to reach total ‘cradle to grave’ sustainability. But it is likely that under the heat of competition and government regulations this may become possible much earlier in the light of recent advances in technology.

Airless gains Few weeks ago a company demonstrated the shape of things to come when a vehicle fitted with airless tyres demonstrated the ability to withstand gun-fire. Commercialisation of such tyres would certainly meet market expectations. Tyre flat has been a perennial problem and a constant irritant to motorists riding pneumatic tyres. Non-pneumatic tyres (NPT) would put an end to this concern. Many companies have developed prototype of NPT or airless tyres with Michelin unveiling its Tweel in 2005. But retail markets have not developed even after unveiling of several versions of NPT by various tyre companies, including Bridgestone in 2011 and Hankook a few weeks ago. What Hankook revealed was an improved air-free tyre concept by bringing the “rim”

and tyre together into one piece made of intricate geometric cells. The wheel design was claimed to absorb shocks and bumps better than pneumatic tyres. Hankook also said its innovative tyre was 95 per cent recyclable and improved fuel economy because it was lighter than a standard tyre. But what has rekindled interest in NPT was a demonstration by Polaris, an offroad vehicle specialist. The company, which had acquired a startup Resilient Technologies that initially developed honeycomb-styled NPT, demonstrated a few weeks ago the usefulness of its tyres after they were put through ballistic fire. Although the tyres were riddled with gunfire, the puncture-proof tyre withstood the assault. The company has announced that it plans to debut a consumer version by early next year. If such a tyre could be commercialised, it will be a reflection of the improvement NPT brings in terms of greater safety as there will be no flat and assured fuel-efficiency as it removes the air-loss impact on rolling resistance. It will also bring to an end the wishful scenario that dominated tyre discussions since the early 1970s when NASA’s Lunar Roving Vehicle sported airless tyres made by General Motors. Tyre engineers think that in the immediate future there could be some changes in designs. The diameter of regular tyres might increase from the average of around 16 inches today to 21 inches

by 2020. Run-flat tyres have received consumer acceptance now that spare tyres have been removed from most vehicles to achieve light-weighting for increased mileage. Even then, run-flats still account for less than 2 per cent of all new passenger tyres.

Auto watch With electric and hybrid cars hitting the market in larger numbers, tyre makers will have to come out with products that offer reduction of mass, noise and durability. These require incorporation of new polymers, fillers and cord reinforcement. Such tyres will also have more electronic sensors that will measure tyre pressure, temperature, G-force, load and other parameters. Such cyber tyres will be able to communicate with computerised tyre pressure monitoring devices, antilock braking systems and electronic stability control mechanisms to adjust tyre pressure to optimise fuel-efficiency, handling and safety, analysts say. “Advances in chip technology are making it affordable—from a reality standpoint—to allow the tyre to be smarter and more reactive to operating conditions in the future,” Yurkovich has said. Insurers, who need to keep a step ahead of developments, are preparing themselves for the future cars and their tyres. They speak of driverless trucks to flying cars that could become a reality sooner than later. Taking cues from tyre researchers, they are monitoring the scene of telematics devices that would be wired into the cars and tyres of the future. The trend shows that tyres are becoming intelligent following greater use of active sensors and new smart materials. To those sceptics, tech savvy auto enthusiasts point to the futuristic-looking cars such as Maybach, MercedesBenz, BMW, Ferrari/ Lamborghini and Volkswagen that are wired with telematics to monitor real risk based on personal driver behaviour. These developments highlight a major factor: Tyre designers should closely follow the trends in the auto industry.

Hankook’s airless tyre concept

Hybrid and electric powertrains and automated driving and guidance systems that steer the driver to the destination would demand cyber tyres that are compatible with such technologies. Tyre may not have changed or evolved much in the last hundred years. The rubber donuts may also not change shape, but they will certainly undergo major makeovers under technology compulsion and consumer perception. POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013


cOver story

Tyre engineers are focussing on ways to reduce weight and improve rolling resistance in the context of the changes in vehicle technologies. Tyres will have a pivotal role in OEMs’ vehicle improvement goals, says Dr James A Popio, General Manager and Director of Engineering at Ohio-based Smithers Rapra’s Ravenna Laboratory. At its threeday conference themed Future of Tire Technology in October, delegates will deliberate on issues such as alternative tyre materials and construction to determine an ideal mix of cost, durability and fuel efficiency. Technologists and executives will also debate the industry’s future, including solutions to the stressors on the users and producers of the tyre supply chain, he elaborated in this interview 54


FUTURE PTA News Bureau


t a time when the tyre industry is going through one of its toughest times in terms of product marketing and technological changes that focus on sustainable mobility, what do you think are the key issues that the conference would be addressing? Smithers Rapra’s Future of Tire Technology – taking place October 28-

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30 in Charlotte, NC – is a challenge to the tyre industry to come together as a group and determine real solutions to stressors on the users and producers of the tyre supply chain. Through extensive collaboration with the industry, we have taken great pains to ensure equal voice from materials suppliers, producers, equipment manufacturers, OEMs, retail and – not to be forgotten – the

everyday consumer at this inaugural conference and exhibition. The Future of Tire Technology 2013 programme begins with a look at the OE landscape with such industry leaders like Chuck Yurkovich of Cooper Tire, Paul Burgoyne of Vantage Intermodal and more. The first day will close out with an in-depth look at what the tyre needs to do for each player in the supply chain, with group dialogue on how conflicting needs can be mitigated. You’ll hear perspectives from University of Akron, Firestone Polymers, Pirelli Tyre SpA, Ford Motor Company and others.

Cost and performance will drive the use of synthetic polymers, Guayule and Russian dandelion by the tyre industry. The debate over new sources of natural rubber has been going on for decades. At the moment, Hevea brasiliensis continues to outperform many synthetic materials. However, as economics makes sense, synthetics will be developed to the point at which there will be valid choices to be made amongst tyre manufacturers

On Day 2, we’ll dwell deep into the trends, costs, compliance, automation and technology of making tyres to ever-changing specifications, as well as the latest innovations from raw material suppliers in response to the needs of tyre manufacturers and customers. Consumers Union, DuPont, Lehigh Technologies Inc., Lanxess Corporation, ExxonMobil Chemical Co., Teijin Aramid USA among others will lead the discussions. We’ll close out the event with a focus on two of the best known and commercially applied tyre characteristics approximations (FTire, SWIFT). This will be the first time North America will hear from Prof Dr Michael Gipser, Professor at Esslingen University of Applied Sciences, Germany and Co-Founder and Owner-manager, Cosin Scientific Software and Antoine Schmeitz on TNO, Helmond on topics like theoretical background, parameterisation and adaptation based on measurements and corresponding software. We’re proud of this programme and are looking forward to the on-site discussions between all of the key players in the supply chain. What do you think are the major developments that could have a defining impact on tyre technology in the coming five years? Original Equipment (OE) tyre rolling resistance has progressed since its inception, from 25 kg/t all the way to around 5 or 6 kg/t today. These values are getting closer and closer to the rolling resistance coefficient for a railway wheel, which is around 1 or 2 kg/t. With the focus on vehicle development on fuel efficiency, the continuation of tyre development towards these numbers will drive new material development and design changes. As tyres push towards the railway wheel rolling resistance coefficients, significant innovation will be required to meet other performance requirements, including performing well in both wet and dry conditions. Do you think that tyre labelling, such as the one in Japan and the recently enacted regulations in the EU and the proposed enforcement in the US, will erase the importance of branding as even budget tyres would meet all the safety, noise and fuelsaving criteria under labelling laws? I’m sure the marketing teams at the global tyre

organisations will continue to find unique and creative ways to create values for their brands even as tyre labelling requirements are implemented. We don’t need to look beyond the automotive industry to find a corollary. Vehicle manufacturers must comply with governmental requirements with regard to safety and performance. Consumers benefit by knowing that all products, even those in the “budget” category, meet the established criteria. Yet, the marketing organisations still differentiate their products based on other criteria. Perhaps more comprehensive tyre labelling makes the tyre marketers’ job just a bit harder, but I’m confident they are up to the challenge. Do you believe that the dependence on Hevea brasiliensis would get diluted with the greater use of synthetic polymers, Guayule and Russian dandelion? Cost and performance will drive this change in the industry. The debate over new sources of natural rubber has been going on for decades. At the moment, Hevea brasiliensis continues to outperform many synthetic materials. However, as economics makes sense, synthetics will be developed to the point at which there will be valid choices to be made amongst tyre manufacturers. The main issue for the Guayule and the Russian dandelion is production volume. Can the industry dependably produce enough guayule and Russian dandelion to meet the growing demand of tyre manufacturers as emerging markets grow? If these development questions can be answered over the next few years, the industry may see a reduction of a dependence on Hevea brasiliensis. What are the major challenges before tyre engineers, particularly in the context of electric/ hybrid vehicles setting to dominate the market? As the trend continues to push towards fuel efficiency in all aspects of vehicle design, tyre development will continue to look at ways to reduce weight and improve rolling resistance performance to match up with the emerging electric and hybrid engine technologies. Tyres continue to be a critical piece of the overall vehicle design improvement goals of OEM’s. Because of this, alternative materials and construction will continue to be developed to find that ideal mix of cost, durability and fuel efficiency. There is speculation that the tall and thin tyre will be the next target of tyre designers. The questions that remain for this concept is what does it do to the handling and traction performance of the tyre? In addition, while possibly more fuel efficient, a tall, thin tyre does not necessarily support the improved aesthetics that car manufacturers have been moving towards with their overall design. Finding that mix of improved fuel efficiency while maintaining a profile and look that consumers want, will be a significant challenge to all development engineers. POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013


cOver story Tyre industry consultant Ertugrul Yilmaz, who is credited with setting up greenfield projects drawing from his years of industry experience with top global tyre makers, says the increasing diversity of tyre sizes and toughening environment regulations are posing several challenges to manufacturers. Tyre technologists are shifting focus to more automation in production and the emphasis is on pre-assemblies and shorter cycle times in tyre building in order to stay competitive, he says in this interview PTA News Bureau

Challenge to tyre techies T

he Istanbul (Turkey)-based tyre technologist and independent industry consultant Ertugrul Yilmaz says the tyre development and manufacturing are coming under greater government regulations in terms of sustainable transportation with the focus on safety and fuel-efficiency. This calls for careful planning in setting up manufacturing facilities.

“The main focus now is on two issues: Environment and safety,” he told Polymers & Tyre Asia in an interview. “Rolling resistance, wet grip and noise are the three criteria for classifying tyres. In this context, the automotive and tyre industries are under pressure to stick to these criteria whose obvious intend is to achieve sustainability.” The latest among the regulations are the


Ertugrul Yilmaz

European Union tyre labelling rules that have come into effect from November 2012. The major concerns of the regulations are slashing of CO2 emission. In fact this was the major challenge to both the automotive industry and the tyre manufacturers, he said.

The automotive industry is striving to achieve CO2 emission reduction targets through the development of better engine technology that offers greater fuel efficiency. Its choice is veering round to electric motors that are designed to boost efficiency compared to currently used internal combustion engines. “Already many manufacturers have launched electric and hybrid vehicles which will have an impact on the tyre industry. Lightweight and low-rolling resistance tyres should complement this

POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013

effort. And it is a major challenge for tyre manufacturers.”

Use of silica in the tread compound is one solution, but even this is not enough by itself for producing tyres that are specifically meant for electric vehicles. Another option is to develop ‘skinny and tall’ tyres with larger outer diameter fitted on large diameter rims and inflated with higher air pressure, Yilmaz said. This will certainly find wider usage in the future although the switch-over to this may be at a slower pace. “However, in my view we shall still have today’s wide and handsome low aspect ratio tyres in the market as internal combustion engine vehicles will still be running on the roads.” That means the variety of tyre sizes available in the market might increase which will most possibly bring additional

drawbacks in efficiency of tyre manufactures’ day-to-day operations. But certainly the demand for rim sizes of varying sizes will certainly continue to go up.

Demand trends Yilmaz points out that noise issue has already forced a wider separation in tyre models for the summer and winter usage. There are seasonal regulations to use only winter tyres during winter months between October to March in the northern hemisphere. Symmetric and asymmetric rib-type tread patterns, with wide see-through grooves for better aquaplaning and wet performance are the trends for summer. They contribute to low noise levels. To address wet grip and other safety concerns, the usage of SSBR–Silica formulations will continue to be the major solution. Commenting on REACH regulations affecting the tyre industry, he said governments have banned the use of hazardous chemicals and heavy metals. The usage of lead as balancing weight on the car wheels has also come under scrutiny and restrictions have come into effect in EU and western markets. This results in almost a 50 per cent reduction in balance values of OE tyres which in turn poses a challenge to developing process standards and practices. These restrictions are surely bringing about new manufacturing technologies. Yilmaz believes that the role of natural rubber as a major raw material in the manufacture of tyres is unlikely to get reduced despite new polymer formulations. “NR is being used widely and more on commercial (truck, bus and off-the-road) tyres. “In my view there would be no reduction in NR usage in this category in the foreseeable future. On the contrary, the demand for NR will increase as long as the commercial tyre market continues to grow worldwide.” He referred to the current research on Guayule and Russian dandelion as a replacement for NR, and pointed out that there have been no significant breakthroughs as yet. “Probably it will take years, maybe decades, to reach a meaningful result. Today, NR with its unmatched physical properties and well-established farming and production methodologies is an inevitable raw

to rotor shapes, chamber volumes, downstream milling equipment etc. The intermesh rotor mixing for silica is better compared to a tangential rotor mixing.


lready many manufacturers have launched electric and hybrid vehicles which will have an impact on the tyre industry. Lightweight and lowrolling resistance tyres should complement this effort. And it is a major challenge for tyre manufacturers

Tandem and continuous mixing equipment and processes are rather new and yet to be proved for efficiency and quality. However, they will certainly get improved. There will be new technologies that are emerging.

material for the commercial tyre industry. In my view NR will remain so for several decades.” He said the passenger tyre market is more flexible in this respect and the use of new materials like Guayule etc will be easier in the production of such tyres as long as the cost remains competitive. “However the effect of this on the general NR market would be minimal.”

Manufacturing units Regarding the design and execution of tyre manufacturing projects, Yilmaz said automation is the direction on which tyre makers are moving. “More pre-assemblies and shorter cycle times in tyre building are the keys for competitive manufacturing,” he said. Automatic tread, belt, ply-cutting and auto-splicing, single stage instead of dual stage tyre building machines that provide better uniformity values on the finished tyres are widely welcomed by the tyre industry. This ensures high quality with less cycle time and less processing cost. Perhaps the only drawback of this is the high initial investment cost. “Yes, if you want to be competitive in the long run you need to accept higher investment costs in the beginning. As for the mixing area, the two challenges are silica mixing for passenger tyres and NR mixing for commercial tyres. Both these categories require multistage mixing. The key processes in terms of overall energy efficiency determine the cost of manufacturing operations. The challenge is to reduce cycle times and eliminate steps to achieve lower conversion costs. There are new technologies with regard

On the issue of the most cost-effective tyre testing methodologies and procedures to ensure quality of low rolling resistance tyres, Yilmaz made a few interesting observations. Rolling resistance can be measured effectively and accurately on well-calibrated indoor drum test machines. There are mainly four methods for indoor RR testing. These are: 1-Force method, 2-Torque method, 3-Power method and 4- Coast down method. Among these, the mostly used one is the force method which is also well-accepted by the automotive industry. “Once you have a well-calibrated machine, then it is easy to measure the RR. However, when it comes to actual fuel-saving testing, it is more difficult. “There are many parameters to be taken into consideration. So I would recommend it to be done by a certified test agency as it is a more sophisticated test.” Explaining his observation further he said: “If I take the question in a broader sense, I believe a considerable portion of rolling loss is happening at the tread area. There comes the need for laboratory testing of compounds and compound recipe formulation. This is a huge area of study where every manufacturer should put a lot of effort and resources to improve the parameters further.”

Labelling issue Yilmaz believes that labelling will not affect brand value among ordinary tyre buyers as consumers will feel comfortable in their choice. However, for people who are professionally knowledgeable about tyres, the situation may well be different. The three characteristics highlighted by labelling are not fully comprehensive when defining the overall performance of a tyre. Ride comfort, belt and bead durability, wear life, dry brake, in-cabin noise, appearance and colour of the tyre, worn-out appearance, cut and chipping, are some other characteristics for a professional when he considers overall performance of a tyre. Continued on page - 120

POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013


cOver story

SUMITOMO – LEAVE FOSSILS ALONE When Sumitomo Rubber Industries, the Japanbased global major, introduced fossil resourcefree tyres in the early 2000s, it created a lot of excitement in the industry where a shifting of focus was happening in a big way on sustainability and green strategies. The company produced ENASAVE 97 in 2008, which was made of 97% non-fossil resources. The work did not stop there. Sumitomo researchers continued the hard grind to chip away the balance three percent dependence of fossil fuel and finally were able to achieve the ultimate goal of producing 100% fossil resource-free tyre. The aim now is to mass-market it by the end of 2013. In an exclusive interview with Polymers & Tyre Asia, Masataka Hiro, Assistant Manager, Sumitomo Rubber Industries, describes how the company is focused on developing technology that will leave the fossils alone Masataka Hiro, Assistant Manager, Sumitomo Rubber Industries

By PTA News Bureau


umitomo Rubber Industries has been working on the development of fossil resource-free tyres since early 2000s in order to reduce the dependence on fossil resources in tyre making. The Tokyo-based company started the sale of 70% petroleum-free ENASAVE ES801 tyre in March 2006, which received great appreciation from the market. Work continued and ENASAVE 97 hit the market in 2008. The concept of minimising dependency on fossil resources such as oil and coal and increasing the ratio of petroleum-free, natural materials has been Sumitomo’s pet theme. In ENASAVE 97, this was achieved at a level as high as 97% by adopting the newly developed ENR technology. The new-generation eco-tyre reduced the


rolling resistance by 35%, compared with Digityre ECO EC201 and contributed considerably to fuel efficiency.

a performance level equivalent to that of conventional carbon black,” Hiro told Polymers & Tyre Asia.

However, as Masataka Hiro, Assistant Manager, Sumitomo Rubber Industries, described, work continued on the development of natural materials for the remaining three per cent to achieve the ultimate goal of 100% fossil resource-free tyre.

ENASAVE 97 was a landmark in Sumitomo’s efforts to establish a green methodology in tyre manufacturing that can achieve measurable results. Hiro said: “After conducting various research projects, Sumitomo succeeded in the development of technology that makes efficient use of modified natural rubber, and in 2006, we introduced the Enasave ES801 tyre, of which 70% is made from fossil resource-free materials.

“To replace the remaining 3% of fossil resource-based materials in the ENASAVE 97, namely, rubber antioxidants and vulcanisation accelerators, Sumitomo Rubber Industries has developed a technology for synthesising material compounds from biomass materials using a special catalyst. We also succeeded in adopting plant-based oil for the production of carbon black with

POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013

“Then in 2008, the company developed Evolutional Natural (EN) rubber, the “third rubber” made mainly from natural rubber and featuring air-tightness and durability equivalent to synthetic rubber, and also completed the development of the

Sumitomo’s focused area of future research, he pointed out. “In 2011, Sumitomo accomplished the development of a 100% fossil resource-free tyre prototype. Efforts are now under way to mass-produce and release fossil resourcefree tyres by the end of 2013. With the introduction of these tyres, the company will have firmly established the technology to replace fossil resource-based materials with biomass materials. “The company intends to continue developing this technology, focusing on enhancing the functionality of such biomass materials with the aim of commercialising highly functional fossil resource-free tyres. We aspire to establish the first-generation technology for producing tyres using highly functional biomass materials in 2016 and the second-generation technology in 2020.”

Fuel efficiency

ENASAVE 97 tyre comprised 97% of fossil resource-free materials.

ENASAVE 97 Compared with the previous model, the Digi-Tyre ECO EC201 tyre, the ENASAVE 97 tyre reduced rolling resistance by 35%, while decreasing CO2 emissions per vehicle-kilometre driven by 36% through its entire product lifecycle, from raw materials and production to utilisation, disposition and recycling.” Sumitomo succeeded in shifting synthetic rubber to high endurance EN rubber for sidewalls and innerliner in addition to the conventional tread, increasing the

ratio of petroleum-free, natural materials from 44% for an average tyre to 97% for ENASAVE 97. The increased compounding ratio of silica and vegetable oil ensured endurance of sidewall rubber. The rubber flexibility optimised by vegetable-origined rubber conditioner led to low rolling resistance and high grip required for tread rubber. A new directional tread pattern was adopted to amplify the performance of low rolling resistance tyres. The blocs of the tread resemble leaves in shape. Hiro said: “Today, awareness of global environment problems and their causes, including global warming and the depletion of petroleum resources, is increasingly widespread, spurring calls for the tightening of regulations on automobile exhaust and fuel efficiency while facilitating interest in corporate social responsibility. Reflecting this, Sumitomo Rubber Industries will reinforce three eco-friendly product categories, namely, fossil resource-free tyres, fuelefficient tyres and spareless technology products from the perspective of enhancing products’ value in terms of the environment, the economy and society. By doing so, the company will contribute to the realisation of sustainable society. Fossil resource-free tyres remains

Fuel efficiency goes a long way in reducing the adverse impact on environment. In this area, Sumitomo aims to launch products in a full range of sizes that have an AAA-a rating, meaning they meet the highest criteria for both rolling resistance and gripping performance under the official tyre labeling system, Hiro said. “Simultaneously, we will promote the development of tyres with 50% less rolling resistance compared with conventional tyres as well as those that help maintain fuel efficiency while delivering extra high performance. Furthermore, the company aims to capture a 10% share of the global fuel-efficient tyre market by 2020 through the worldwide provision of eco-friendly, value-added tyres under the ENASAVE brand. According to Hiro, another major research focus is the development of spareless technology products. Forecasts call for the enactment of regulations on automobile exhaust and fuel efficiency by 2015 and 2020, respectively, by governments worldwide. Once these regulations are enforced, approximately 80% of new cars sold worldwide will be eco-friendly. Reflecting this, demand for lighter materials is rising due to manufacturers’ need to reduce automobile weight, Hiro said. “Sumitomo Rubber Industries has been involved in the development and sale of ‘spareless technology products’ that aim to obviate the need for spare tyres, including run-flat tyres and Instant Mobility System (IMS), a flat tyre repair kit. Going forward, we will pursue the further development of such products and thereby promote environment-friendly and cost-efficient products,” he said.

POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013










Peter Haan, Head of Business Development OEM Tire, Siemens Industrial Automation Systems

Siemens has taken factory automation to new levels of seamless operation excellence through its integrated automation solutions based on simulation systems. Based on existing 3D drawings of any CAD tool you can add the kinematics to each part of the machine by using Tecnomatix Process Simulate, Peter Haan, Head of Business Development OEM Tire, Siemens Industrial Automation Systems, told Polymers & Tyre Asia in an exclusive interview



he Totally Integrated Automation (TIA) solutions developed by Siemens, the world’s single-source leader of automation technology products, has made remarkable impact on production process in global tyre industry. The company has shown how TIA has efficiently met the requirements of efficient configuration, faster integration and commissioning, greater flexibility in


production and higher availability and energy savings. As a response to the increasing competitive pressure, it is more important than ever today to make full use of all optimisation opportunities over the entire life cycle of a machine or plant starting with planning and engineering, continuing into operation and maintenance right through to expansion

POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013

and modernisation, Siemens believes. For Siemens automation technology does not start at machine automation by programing SIMATIC PLCs. “Our go-tomarket approach for the tyre industry starts at tyre producers. We want to support them doing factory layouts and factory designs that are highly automated according to their requirements,” Peter Haan, Head of Business Development

OEM Tire, Siemens Industrial Automation Systems, told Polymers & Tyre Asia. The Siemens pre-cure press solution is a typical example of how the company has integrated its automation solution with the needs of the production line. Haan said: “Today mostly all machines are designed by using a CAD tool. Based on the existing 3D drawings of any CAD tool you can add the kinematics to each part of the machine by using Tecnomatix Process Simulate.

Faster from idea to tire production... ...through seamless integration of the engineering tool chain! Yesterday Process:

Advantages There are several advantages with this simulation system, Haan stresses. The machine designer can easily check whether the kinematics of the machine is working well. The PLC programmer can test and optimise all software (SW) routines in the PLC without any need for the real machine. Again, the human machine interface designer (HMI designer) can test all screens of the operator station and he can double check his layout together with his customer’s stuff far before delivery of the real machine. In case of necessary adaptations of the HMI the delivery date will not shift. The machine operator at the customer’s factory floor is already well trained on the machine when the real machine arrives at his place, he pointed out. The system has undergone many stages of evolution and upgrades. In former times each step of product and production development was serial, Haan said. “The first step had to be finished before the second could be started and so on. Today we see already a quite remarkable overlap

Tomorrow parallel

Product Process Mechanical Electrical Automation time


“For example, you define what distance a mould can be lifted. At the top position normally you have positioned a limit switch in the CAD anyway. In Process Simulate you define the correlation between the mould and the limit switch and you define the signal to be written to a simulation output memory buffer as soon as the limit switch is activated. “All contents of the simulation output memory buffer are transferred periodically to the PLC’s input memory buffer by using an OPC connection. Inside the PLC all the necessary operations are executed and the results are written into the PLC’s output buffer. Those results are again transferred to the Process Simulate input memory buffer by using an OPC connection. Process Simulate evaluates the contents of the input buffer and reacts accordingly. E.g. a hydraulic valve is closed and the moving mould stops.”

Today serial, tool-supported


Factory CAD design Idea PLM Product Lifecycle Management

Product Service



Automation Design

Totally Integrated Automation



ƒ In the future up to 30% faster time to market is possible! Page 7


P. Haan

between the execution steps. Our goal is a simultaneous engineering where all development can be executed nearly in parallel,” he said. “Siemens addressed this goal by the acquisition of the company UGS, what brought CAD and simulation capabilities into our industry sector. The throughput was the connection of the virtual simulation with the real PLC HW, the real HMI panel operation and the SW program execution.”

Plant simulation Siemens’ go-to-market approach for the tyre industry starts at tyre producers. It supports them by doing factory layouts and highly automated factory designs according to their requirements. “By using Plant Simulation, which is another SW tool out of the Tecnomatix product family, we can prove whether the factory design will fulfill the tyre maker’s requirements, or whether improvements have to be designed,” Haan said. Powerful SW packages for supervisory production control are another automation area that Siemens is offering tyre manufacturers. All information needed by the factory supervisory team are evaluated and displayed according to each person’s needs. “And of course, these are also stored in a history buffer,” Haan pointed out. This supervisory control center needs to be connected to a bunch of different

© Siemens AG 2012. All Rights Reserved. Industry Sector, Industrial Automation Systems, S OEM4

production machines of several suppliers. Siemens has the appropriate communication technology not only to connect the supervisory station with machines equipped with SIMATIC control technology, but also to connect machines equipped with third party automation. “So we cover the full life cycle from the planning phase to maintenance and from the factory floor up to the MES level,” he said. Siemens has a huge R&D base that is among the best in the world. “Because Siemens is a huge corporation, let’s focus on the parts relevant to tyre production. Our supply chain enables us to develop our products according to the market requirements. This is not only valid for direct product features, but also for indirect capabilities as, for example, the ability to deliver PLC components over decades of years. This long time availability is also a strong requirement from our tyre manufacturing customers. And of course, our own development capabilities are in conjunction with our in-house production, which ensures first class quality.” Focusing on sustainability, Haan said: “Green technology in production means energy efficiency. Therefore we offer so called energy assessment workshops with clients to identify possible opportunities for energy savings. Next step is to equip relevant machines or parts of machines with measurement devices to show the results of the assessment workshop.”

POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013



When Tun Abdul Razak Research Centre (TAARC), the UK-based rubber research institution celebrated the 75th anniversary of its founding this January, it marked a great leap in Malaysia’s rubber development. With renewed emphasis on green technologies that will be driven by Dr Kamarudin Ab-Malek, the scientist who took over as its CEO three years ago, the pioneering institution is quickly moving towards discovering cutting-edge technologies that will further transform the Malaysian rubber economy. Carrying forward the advances in rubber science, technology and applications will be the main task before TAARC, its CEO said in an interview. The concluding part of this interview will be published in the next issue of PTA PTA News Bureau Dr Kamarudin Ab-Malek, CEO, TAARC


he 75th anniversary of the UK-based Tun Abdul Razak Research Centre (TAARC) marks a milestone in the development of TARRC, the Malaysian Rubber Board (MRB) and the Malaysian rubber industry in general, says Dr Kamarudin Ab-Malek, the research


institution’s CEO. “TARRC has been responsible for many of the significant advances in rubber science, technology and applications which have contributed to the growth of the Malaysian industry,” he told Polymers & Tyre Asia. TARRC was originally established in

POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013

January 1938 as the British Rubber Producers’ Research Association. Over the years, as the Malaysian interests and funding increased, the name was changed first to the Natural Rubber Producers’ Research Association in 1960, Malaysian Rubber Producers’ Research Association

in 1973 and then to the Tun Abdul Razak Research Association in 1996. “Its early fundamental research resulted in important discoveries, including the molecular structure of rubber, an understanding of the vulcanisation process and factors that govern the failure of rubber products,” said Dr Kamarudin. Its scientists have developed the basic theories on the elastic behaviour of rubber and helped to establish natural rubber as a true structural engineering material. The research centre was established with the best people in the field, and continues to attract staff of the highest calibre. Among the scientists have been three Fellows of the Royal Society, who were honoured for their work at TARRC, and five


he availability of the annotated Hevea genome sequence will enable the development of a large database of molecular markers that can be used to identify genes involved in important traits, providing enormous scope for the improvement of natural rubber properties and of overall crop performance

have been inducted into the University of Akron Hall of Fame. Others have won distinguished rubber industry medals and honours in the UK, the US and Malaysia.

for Services to Mankind in 1990 for developing natural rubber-steel laminated base isolation bearings for protecting buildings from earthquakes.

TARRC, which has been working closely with MRB on a strategic plan for the rubber industry to 2020, has also received the Prince Philip Award

“TARRC will continue to be guided by a philosophy to build on its wealth of experience and expertise to develop highperformance, value-added, sustainable rubber materials and products, for the benefit of the entire Malaysian rubber industry,” he said.

Green emphasis It was TARRC scientist who developed a commercially viable epoxidised natural rubber, branded Ekoprena. Ekoprena 25 (containing 25% mole epoxide) has been developed for tyre applications. The researchers have demonstrated that tyre compounds comprising Ekoprena 25 combined with precipitated silica are well placed to meet the requirements of Europe’s new regulatory and labelling requirements with regard to low rolling resistance and wet grip. “Commercial production of Ekoprena, by Felda Rubber Industries Sdn Bhd, is now coming on stream and our marketing activities are being stepped up in line with this,” Dr Kamarudin said. The development of Ekoprena passenger tyre compounds is well underway and will continue throughout 2013 and this will include compounds for retreaded tyres. Ekoprena 25 was established as a tyre material, alongside natural rubber, in Sumitomo’s Enasave ES801 tyre in 2006. This 70 per cent petroleum-free passenger car tyre was announced as a major breakthrough in tyre development and was followed by the 97 per cent petroleum free Enasave 97 in 2008. The 100% petroleum free, Enasave 100, is due to be launched commercially at the Tokyo Motor Show in 2013. “We are also looking at using Ekoprena for the commercial vehicle tyre market because some tyres will not meet the requirements of new labelling legislation using traditional types of tyre compound.” (To be continued) POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013



R&D holds

the key The role of R&D in Indian tyre industry has become more important in the wake of the rapid changes happening in the industry and the technological challenges it brings, says Unnikrishnan G, Vice President, Research & Development, CEAT Ltd. A Chemical and Polymer engineer with 25 years of experience in Tyre R&D heads the Design, Advanced Engineering, Compound/Material & Process Development groups at CEAT. Technology is the solution for all the challenges and that adds to the role of R&D in these times of crisis, he told Polymers & Tyre Asia in this exclusive interview, the second part of which will appear in our next issue By Sharad Matade


he core objectives of R&D are product innovation catering to future trends and demands in tyre industry. Has the role of R&D become more crucial for CEAT in times of market challenges and increasing number of regulations? Future will be different from the present and changes will certainly bring with it challenges. Technology is responsible for many of the most important changes that happen in one or other related areas. It is a fact that technology is the solution for all these challenges. It is also important to note that the role of R&D becomes more critical in times of crisis. R&D in CEAT has not only been working on current challenges but also has been keeping pace with the changes to face future challenges. In the last five years this has become very relevant for the tyre industry as the challenges have become highly dynamic both in market and on the regulation front. This context has made the role of R&D in CEAT very crucial. The ‘2P’ and ‘2S’ – Price & Performance and Sustainability & Safety - are today’s key drivers. Increasing and volatile crude


POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013

Unnikrishnan G, Vice President, Research & Development, CEAT Ltd.

oil and rubber prices, the need to move towards more reliance on renewable and recyclable materials, conservation of materials, more demanding performance, enhanced features and increasing importance of safety and environment have become top priorities. In India, again, we have more challenges. Some are unique, like bias-to-radial transition, poor roads, overloading, poor customer awareness, need for globalisation, emergence of more number of global regulations, increasing presence of MNCs, low industry-academy tie-up, low R&D intensity, relatively lesser number of government funded research, emergence of new vehicle categories and more stringent demands from OEMs. Hence role of R&D for the whole Indian tyre industry has become extremely crucial. CEAT currently does not have a technology dependence on MNCs and has been present in a wide range of categories with diverse customer requirements. That makes the role of our R&D even more important. The very fact that CEAT is able to cater to the needs of customers both in India and abroad in all these categories also proves the strength of technology we developed over the years. Do you think that pneumatic tyre as we know them today would undergo fundamental changes in designs in the coming decade? There are different ways of looking at this. If we look at fundamental change as an ‘evolutionary shift’ to a non-pneumatic, we can see solid and hub & spoke concepts are undergoing development. These will gain in niche areas and in more light, low-speed applications, small construction/agricultural equipment and defence applications. We may see more role of ‘mechatronics’ to overcome some of the disadvantages of these systems and increasing efforts to make them more cost-effective. In the realm of pneumatic tyres, the design concept appears to head towards larger and narrower tyres for reduced rolling resistance to improve fuel efficiency. A fundamental shift can also be expected in the area of material design in an effort to reduce weight, grip and rolling resistance. Further fundamental changes can also happen in areas of ‘Intelligent Tyres’ and integration with vehicle suspension system. Has the European labelling regulations changed the dynamics of R&D? Of course and it is true globally. Though efforts were being done by many

companies to reduce rolling resistance, noise and enhancement of grip, the European labelling regulations set targets to all who have the intention to set their foot in the EU. Same trend happened with regulations related to process oils and chemicals. More focussed efforts were put in mastering silica-silane and SSBR/ advanced polymers and special additives


hough efforts were being done by many companies to reduce rolling resistance, noise and enhancement of grip, the European labelling regulations set targets to all who have the intention to set their foot in the EU. Same trend happened with regulations related to process oils and chemicals

technology. Nano, bio-technology and recycling technology also progressed at a faster pace. This also led to overcoming the contradictions of much talked-about ‘magic-triangle’ whereby a compromise was indicated between grip, rolling resistance and tread durability. Today research is able to accomplish a magic triangle with the extension of the three axis outward without much compromise of vital performance characteristics. Other areas where influence has been high are testing and simulation. We also see similar regulations in other countries and regions thus spreading the same trend of technology developments. It is also interesting to note that a unique challenge faced by the R&D was to balance between product ‘labelling’ targets and ‘performance and durability level’ as put by marketing and the ‘features/characteristics’ as is generally set-forth as a company philosophy. This became another ‘magic triangle.’ Do you think in the current economic situation where money is becoming dearer, investments in R&D is being restricted in the Indian tyre industry? Traditionally, the R&D intensity has been low in India compared to Europe, USA or Japan. Interestingly, over the years, you

will find that this has gone-up in India. As explained earlier, the challenges faced by Indian tyre companies were many due to raw material price volatility, cost pressures, globalisation/exports, radialisation in commercial segments, wide variety of vehicle segments and models and new OEMs. Complexity and uniqueness increased due to poor customer awareness, old vehicles, overloading and poor roads in case of commercial radial tyres. There are also needs to save materials, move to alternate materials, indigenisation and advancement of technology to meet future challenges. As you are aware, customer demands are getting higher and higher in all the segments of market. There is always a quest for more for less. Another key notable factor is the low level of fundamental research in India. Hence, actually R&D becomes more important and relevant now and top management understands this. Realising this early, CEAT made a paradigm shift in the approach and put focus on selectively putting investment in in-house and outsourced research. Anyway, since Indians are good at managing resources and frugal engineering, the Indian tyre industry will find their way to maximise the benefits from whatever they have invested. In India, which segment - passenger or commercial - needs more R&D focus and why? Both are equally important as the challenges we face are many and unique. If we take passenger as cars/MUVs/ SUVs and commercial as truck/bus, the challenges and demands are very different, though some are common. So the R&D outlook also needs to be different. Passenger vehicles need more focus on durability, tread life, grip, ride, handling, noise, rolling resistance, speed capability, aesthetics, wide variety of sizes, stringent and demanding OEM requirements, tuning with the vehicles and abuse resistance, suitability on poor road conditions. Commercial needs durability, overload and poor road capability, rolling resistance, wear uniformity and meeting OEM requirements. Even regional differences, vehicle configuration and operational philosophy play a role in customer requirements and product targets. All these coupled with a growing market and presence of MNCs underline the need for R&D focus in both segments. (To be continued)

POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013



profits l Hallmark of quality l Machines and men l Machinery and R&D l Focus on quality, technology l Laser-cleaning POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013


SPECIAL Report As tyre companies face tough challenges in an increasingly difficult market, a major strategy to ensure better bottom lines is to invest in high-quality precision moulds. It assures fail-safe production of quality tyres and ensures uninterrupted output. With the continuing emergence of complex tyre designs– intricate tread patterns and sipes thinner than 0.3 mm – designing and manufacturing moulds have become a highly sophisticated and techintensive exercise. These days mould makers closely work with tyre designers and use cutting-edge computer modelling and simulation technologies to produce highprecision products for making the perfect tyre PTA News Bureau


anufacturing quality tyre moulds is a great technical challenge. Quality and reliable moulds sustain the health of the tyre industry. Tyre label regulations and strict emission norms have heightened the importance of moulds. Such laws have thrown up unprecedented business opportunities for mould makers. European Union’s mandatory tyre labelling has thrown up the critical role of mould in tyre production. Quality moulds ensure the manufacture of tyres that meet the labelling requirements of fuel efficiency, wet grip and external rolling noise. And mould makers have to keep in step with the changes in the tyre industry. Tyre production is constantly undergoing changes in view of the increasing emphasis on sustainable transportation. “The EU tyre labelling is posing challenges not only to tyre-makers but also the mould makers,” says Michael Stops, Director Sales of Munich-based A-Z Formen-und Maschinenbau GmbH. He told Polymers & Tyre Asia that adhering to regulations that are aimed at the production of safe and


fuel-efficient tyres has triggered demand for high-quality moulds. Precision-built moulds with close tolerance, quality and reliability are absolute necessities to produce tyres that have complex treads, geometry and even stylistic appearance. As Stops said tyre mould can make or break the quality. It can lead to the market success of tyres. Agrees Jaideep Singh Shinh, Director of the Bangalore (India)-based National Standard Tyre Moulds Ltd. “Mould engineers are facing major challenges as the automobile industry is shifting focus to lightweight vehicles,” he said in an interview. Such challenges call for production of moulds with high tolerance. This requires closely working with tyre producers and use of sophisticated simulation software.

Tech breakthroughs Today, mould-makers have become development partners of tyre-makers. They use cutting-edge CAD/CAM software to produce precision moulds that are cast in steel or forged aluminium. In fact parametric digital design systems are pushing the boundaries of 3D tyre mould production. It allows rapid production of moulds with complex groove geometries. Segmental moulds offer many advantages over two-piece moulds as the former give better uniformity. Segmental moulds ensure better tyre extraction and higher productivity and reliability. Jason Lin, President of Taiwan-based Tien Sheng

POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013

Molding (TSM), agrees with this view. He said in an interview that segmental moulds are better for tyres with flat/ level ratio of less than 60 while two-piece moulds are used for tyres with more than 65.70 of flat/level ratio. Maintenance of tyre moulds also calls for a lot of ingenuity and skill. These moulds need to be cleaned often for smooth production for which various technologies have been developed with laser-based methods leading the way. The world leader in the field of laser-based cleaning systems is the Alsdorf (Germany)based 4JET Technologies GmbH. It makes innovative laser systems that clean every groove, sipe and sidewall engravings. They are cleaned spotless and the residues are filtered and thrown away. A company official said laser cleaning has many advantages over other methods such as CO2-dry ice cleaning. On an average, laser cleaning takes less time and in fact contributes to higher productivity. Moreover, the nonabrasive laser cleaning does not damage the mould surface. By combining laser process technology, optics, software and mechanical engineering, 4JET has contributed to integrated production systems.

Market opportunities As Stops of A-Z Formen has said the mould is the critical tool for the production of tyres as it determines the tyre’s final quality features. He says Asian tyre

makers, who aspire to export to the highly demanding European market, are now compelled to improve quality standards because of EU labelling. It gives them a tool to prove their improved quality. He says that mould makers should consider EU labelling as a great chance for greater market opportunity. Indeed the thrust on exports by Asian tyre manufacturers should give a boost not only to local mould makers but also those who want to develop partnership with overseas tyre producers in order to expand their market reach. This is the right time to do so as the global tyre market is expected to hit sales that could surpass one billion units by this year itself. Mould makers have a diverse market opportunity now. While original equipment manufacturers (OEM) in Europe and the US still prefer premium high-performance tyres procured locally, it is the aftermarket that many budget tyre

be challenging times ahead for Asian mould manufacturers because of many compelling economic reasons. Besides the wage increases, China – a leading producer of tyre moulds – is also noticing a perceptible drop in demand from emerging market economies. A Chinese commerce ministry spokesman recently indicated that although developed countries have shown signs of recovery in recent months, some emerging economies are starting to lose growth momentum. In view of this, the country is already taking measures to support exporters to ensure the trade sector grows 8 per cent this year as targeted. Asian tyre and mould makers can hope to step up exports as the world demand for tyres is expected to rise in the range of 4.7 per cent, which also indicates a healthy market for moulds. A report by the Freedonia Group indicated that the

Emerging scenario Mould makers can take relief from the forecast that the tyre markets in North America and western Europe will continue to see advances, but below the global average, although both regions will rebound from the declines recorded during the 2005 to 2010 period. Motor vehicle tyres, which accounted for over 60 per cent of all tyre demand in 2010, will remain the largest segment of the tyre market in 2015. As income levels increase worldwide, the share of the global population able to own a vehicle will also rise. This growth will bolster demand for both OEM and replacement motor vehicle tyres, especially light vehicles. These forecasts should delight mould makers as the demand for their products would also rise in tandem. The global tyre mould industry, which was badly hit due to the financial crisis in 2008-2009, is now showing healthy growth impulses in the light of revival of the automotive sector, particularly in emerging markets where the income level of people is on the increase. However, the mould industry still remains sluggish. Driven by rising demand in China, this state of affairs is changing for the better. Some analysts have said that China’s domestic demand for tyre moulds will grow at the average annual rate of around 7per cent with the moderate recovery of Chinese automobile market in the next 2-3 years. But the competition will remain cut-throat and manufacturers who make a difference in the market in terms of cost, quality and technology will have a better chance to make money.

makers from Asia are targeting at. This is the segment that many Asian mould makers can hope to enter as they can supply cheaper and quality moulds to local tyre producers wanting to export to the aftermarket segment. The most technically savvy and progressive mould companies are looking at opportunities to supply quality products for tyre makers targeting budget cars, trucks and buses and crossover utility vehicles (CUVs). Analysts say that e CUVs are set to become a major segment and they could be one of the thrust areas for Asian tyre makers and mould manufacturers. However, it will

world demand for tyres would continue to grow through 2015 to 3.3 billion units. In value terms, the tyre market is projected to advance 6.5 per cent annually over the same span to US$220 billion. Freedonia analysts said the massive Chinese tyre market, which alone accounted for more than one-quarter of global tyre demand in 2010, will record the strongest gains of any country through 2015. Although the majority of tyre demand in China comprises motorcycle and bicycle tyres, sales of motor vehicle tyres in the country are also the second highest in the world, behind only the US.

Those who produce to meet the rising demand pattern, which shows preference for different types of segmental moulds especially those using the modern hydraulic curing presses that ensure good geometry , better heat conduction and more reliable unloading of the tyre from the mould, will certainly survive the market competition. Recent developments clearly show that tyre manufacturers facing intense competition would prefer to go for technologically advanced moulds that offer reliability, quality, precision and enhanced productivity with minimum wastage. Competitively priced moulds that can press down tyre production costs will be the winner in the highly demanding global market.

POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013



Michael Stops, Director Sales, A-Z Formen

One of the world’s leading manufacturers of precision tyre moulds, the Munich-based A-Z Formen-und Maschinenbau GmbH, is scaling new frontiers in the design and manufacture of tyre moulds and containers, besides regroovers and other machinery. Michael Stops, its Director Sales, told Polymers & Tyre Asia that quality mould-making continues to be an engineering challenge. His company is working closely with tyre makers worldwide to deliver moulds that can ensure rolling out of quality tyres with complex designs




he German mould maker A-Z Formen-und Maschinenbau GmbH has been supplying a diversified portfolio of high-quality tyre moulds and extrusion systems for retreading to worldwide customers for more than 75 years. It is also a notable manufacturer of containers, thermo-cutters, custom-shears, measuring devices for tyre mould


POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013

inspection, as well as fixtures and components for aerospace. The EU tyre labelling has presented a greater challenge for A-Z Formen to produce precision moulds as tyres have to adhere to tough new standards in terms of wet grip, fuel efficiency and noise. The labelling regulation has opened

new opportunities for quality-conscious Asian tyre producers who are increasingly turning to more precision and quality moulds.

A-Z Formen is not competing for all the volumes of the worldwide mould market, he explained. “We are working as a development partner with our customers.

“The EU tyre labelling is posing challenges not only to tyre makers but also the mould makers,” says Michael Stops, A-Z Formen’s Director Sales. The labelling allows customers to make relatively objective comparisons of several main features of tyres, he told Polymers & Tyre Asia in an interview.

Target customers are those who request for the special and outstanding properties that of A-Z Formen traditionally delivers as a development partner with regard to quality, reliability and confidentiality in the field of engineering, processing and supplying of moulds.”

“We do not think that the labelling offers the final consumer a real chance for evaluation which tyre is best for his car and purpose. Nevertheless, a high quality mould maker like A-Z Formen must be happy about the approach of the labelling: It forces the tyre maker to put more emphasis on the quality of the mould.” The mould is the final tool for the production of tyres as it determines the quality features of the tyres. Asian tyre makers, who aspire to export to the European market, are now compelled to improve quality standards, and EU labelling gives them a tool to prove their improved quality. “They should consider the labelling as a great chance for greater market opportunity,” he said.

Critical component Everyone would agree that tyre mould is a critical component in tyre building, and its design can make or break the quality, reliability, and marketing success of tyre companies. This has led to some interesting developments. “In the past, mould makers were considered as external work benches for the tyre makers,” points out Stop. “This attitude is about to vanish in the face of future trends. Mould makers are changing to become development partners for their customers.” Mould makers have to work on their own production processes much more diligently not only in following the complex tyre designs that are becoming more sophisticated, but also there is a need to be prepared to come out with new and much more sophisticated future tyre designs. “The quality of the tyres of the first-level brands is growing more and more. The differences in quality and performance will become smaller and smaller. With that the influence and the effects of moulds concerning constancy and uniformity of the tyre production process become decisively import.” This situation actually offers a great chance for the mould makers to adapt to the technological changes happening in the tyre industry. “Mould makers who do not adapt to this situation quickly enough will either disappear from the market or will turn out to become suppliers for a shrinking market of lower quality tyres in developing countries.”

Market expansion Commenting on the growth of the global mould market, Stops said that business opportunities are immense. “Please consider that each new pattern in each tyre size will need at least one but normally a certain number of moulds”.

Today, A-Z Formen customers are spread across the world, Stops said adding that one will find them in all continents, as well as in the fastest emerging markets of India and China.

A-Z Formen has emerged as a quality tyre mould maker of international standing. As holders of several patents, the company has been confronted with issues involving violations by others of its patents emerging out of its R&D laboratories

The company offers products of highest complexity that are developed in partnership with the customers who can be sure of its best efficiency in the tyre production process with the lowest service or other downtimes. The investment in A-Z Formen handsomely pays off because of the mould’s globally renowned quality, reliability, and the corporate commitment to client confidentiality. “That is why our products are copied so often,” without much success. Precision machining of the mould is not actually a great challenge today. “The real challenging task is to understand the ideas of the designers and support them with our own ideas and expertise about a design and also about the productability of special features. A-Z Formen holds in-house all the possible and suitable production processes.” A-Z Formen also ensures that the tyre makers get its support in incorporating special features that they need. It also ensures that the tyre exterior gets nice appearance for the market acceptance of the product. The company has developed expertise in providing compelling finishes to tyres that enhances consumer appeal for perfect and top quality, which would aid the marketing efforts. Such value added external appearances boost customer perception about quality as well.

Global acceptance A-Z Formen has emerged as a quality tyre mould maker of international standing. As holders of several patents, the company has been confronted with issues involving violations by others of its patents emerging out of its R&D laboratories. “When we found out that the quality of all the counterfeited copies were of noticeably lower quality than the A-Z Formen’s originals, we gave up fighting against them,” Stop said. Customers have found out that their production efficiency is negatively affected when counterfeit moulds are used. Today, reputed tyre makers ensure that they go for only genuine A-Z Formen moulds that guarantee to deliver quality products. The company is supplying moulds and containers in large numbers to India, China and other parts of Asia, Stops said. POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013



By PTA News Bureau

MACHINES AND MEN Tianyang Mold, the leading tyre mould producer in China, has witnessed and benefited from the booming of China tyre industry. The company has two modern plants equipped with a full range of up-to-date machines and a team of experienced engineers. It is now capable of meeting any demanding mould requirement from tyre manufacturers


ianyang Mold, China-based leader in tyre moulds, has formed a set of know-how in manufacturing moulds that have made its global mark in many leading tyre plants throughout the world. From the 2-piece tyre mould that it made in 1980, Tianyang’s product range has widened to include segmented tyre mold that it began producing in 1986. Currently Tianyang Mold’s main products include segmented passenger/light truck tyre mould, segmented truck and bus tyre mould, container/mechanism, segmented OTR tyre mold and tyre building drum.


POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013

The company, with plants in Jieyang and Shantou, has three kinds of mould manufacturing methods. For passenger/light truck tyre mould, the process includes low-pressure casting aluminum or direct engraving by 5-axis machine. For truck and bus and OTR tyre mould, it will be steel engraving with EDM finishing. Through decades of expansion, Tianyang Mold now has a full range of up-to-date machines to ensure the accuracy and precision of production, such as CNC, 5-axis engraving machines, low-pressure casting foundry, laser inspection device etc.

The first impression of a tyre is the appearance. In 2012, Tianyang Mold came up with a new EDM machine and invested heavily in a new EDM production line. The new machine improves the mould appearance significantly. The feedback from customers has been very positive. They are very much satisfied with this improvement, which makes their tyre easier to get attention. Another benefit from the new machine is higher efficiency. The new EDM machine reduces manufacturing time by 20% compared to the previous EDM machine. This, along with the shorter delivery requirement, has sharpened the company’s competitive edge in the market. Tianyang introduced a new design of container mechanism. Compared to conventional container, the new design modified the top container ring, top container plate and the actuator ring.

There are four advantages of this new container. The movement of the container is smoother and the noise is less. The stop bolt in the container will not break or get distorted any more. The life cycle of bottom wear plates will also be longer. More importantly, it is easier for the operator in the tyre plant to adjust the gap equally and lock the mould. Serving the tyre industry for more than 30 years, Tianyang Mold has established a team of skillful and experienced technicians and built a range of mould manufacturing know-how. The company carries out all manufacturing processes in-house. Parts like wear plates are made in-house also. Statistics from third independent lab show that Tianyang’s wear plate has better performance capability. Tianyang is the first domestic manufacturer to develop segmented mould designs for radial ply tyres, filling a gap in the technology of the domestic tyre mould industry. This technology was granted the honorary title of “Best of China” by the State council, an“Excellent Project Award” by the National Ministry of Science and Technology, and was listed as “State Eighth-Five-Year Torch Program Project.” In 1994 the GuangDong Provincial Committee of Science and Technology approved the company as a High & New Tech Enterprise. In 1998 it was approved as a state level important High-Tech enterprise by the National Ministry of Science and Technology. It has also passed ISO 9001:2000 International quality system certification. Along with the fast development of the tyre market, the company has gone through a fast expansion period. The tyre mould market is now in the stage of fierce competition. Tianyang’s focus has been on providing its customers with steady high quality moulds with added value. It is a successful key factor to meet customers’ demanding requirement, and beyond their expectation, the company says. The next spotlight of Asian market would be the Indian market. Tianyang Mold is looking forward to providing its premium molds to Indian tyre manufacturers. In order to better serve the Indian tire market, Tianyang will cooperate with an Indian company to have a presence in India regarding to pre-sale and after sale service. POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013



Jaideep Singh Shinh Director, National Standard Tyre Moulds (India)

Quality requirements, when it comes to tyre moulds, have been going through vast improvements over the last few years following competition in the local market and increasing demand for better vehicular performance, says Jaideep Singh Shinh, Director of the Bangalorebased National Standard Tyre Moulds (India) Limited. He shared his views with Polymers & Tyre Asia on different aspects of the tyre mould industry, such as technical developments and current trends

Machinery T

he tyre weight is being controlled much more stringently than what was being done five years ago in order to control vehicle unsprung weight, he said. This benefits the tyre manufacturers as well as it brings better control into the rubber consumption in the tyre building and curing processes


and R&D By Sharad Matade


outheast Asia is seeing a boom in tyre manufacturing in recent years with many regional players expanding capacities and companies from the West setting up new state-ofthe-art facilities for tyres of all sizes. The availability of raw materials as well as cheap labour has promoted a shift in production to this side of the world. Today, a very high percentage of tyres is being made in Asia with the lead being taken by China, Thailand, Indonesia and India. This has given a boost to the region’s tyre mould industry. For the Bangalore-based National Standard Tyre Moulds (NSTM), the demand for its products has been growing steadily. However, overall the production capacity within India for tyre moulds is currently significantly less than the demand at this given point of time, NSTM Director Jaideep Singh Shinh said in an interview to Polymers & Tyre Asia.

POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013

The company has been enjoying key competitive advantages in terms of technology and pricing, he said. “Among the local players, we have invested the most in machinery, with some of the best machines available in the industry for the manufacture of tyre moulds,” he said. “We also have an in house R&D team which is continuously working on the development of special purpose machines for the manufacture of moulds,” he said adding that the objective is to improve throughput and reduce manpower requirements for the processes involved. In terms of pricing, NSTM moulds are competitive. “We are able to offer our customers competitive prices for about 70-80 per cent of our product range compared with those imported from global manufacturers. Compared to local manufacturers,

we are priced a bit higher, as we have a better and more expensive technology for the manufacturing processes,” he pointed out.

as India shifts to radial tyres for the truck and bus segments. They have already become the industrial standard for passenger cars. Motorcycle radials have also been introduced, and will gain marketwide acceptance in the near future.

Another advantage that NSTM enjoys is that of logistics. “We are geographically close to most of the major tyre manufacturing facilities. We are not very far from Chennai, which has a good port for exports.” R&D plays an important role in mould technology development, Shinh stressed. NSTM is currently looking at expanding in a big way, as exports at this point of time are quite limited. “Our efforts are in multiple fields – from optimising processes to developing new methods of manufacturing. We are also in the process of tie-ups with other large manufacturers, details of which are currently under discussions.” Mould is one of the most critical components which affect the performance of the tyre. But the tyre building process is also equally important, if not more important, when it comes to product performance, Shinh said. There have been vast improvements in both these fields, which have resulted in better tyre performance, durability and, as a result, safety.

Vast improvements Shinh said that moulds are responsible for tyre run-outs, which will greatly affect highspeed performance. The quality requirements, when it comes to tyre moulds, have seen vast improvements over the last few years in the face of local competition and demand for better vehicular performance. These improvements are reflected in the fields of design complexity, mould uniformity and construction as well as in tyre aesthetics. Truck and bus radial segments in India have greatly contributed to higher quality requirements from Indian tyre manufacturers. These segments now account for approximately 20 per cent of the market share. “Radial moulds require much higher uniformity than those previously supplied for bias moulds, not to mention that the radial moulds are of segmented construction.” The biggest advantages of segmental moulds, according to him, are that “the tyre uniformity attained is fantastic, as well as extraction of the tyre from the mould is easy for steel belted tyres, which has been a problem in two-piece moulds. However, the cost of these moulds is much higher due to design intricacies and highly demanding tolerance levels to be maintained during the manufacturing process. Maintenance requirements in the case of segmental radial moulds are higher as the mould wear out comparatively quickly, a problem most tyre manufacturers observe. “Correcting these can be carried out at our facility, and it is a minor cost for the tyre manufacturers considering the volume of tyres they turn out from these moulds,” Shinh said Segmental radial moulds are getting importance

The biggest advantages of segmental moulds, according to him, are that “the tyre uniformity attained is fantastic, as well as extraction of the tyre from the mould is easy for steel belted tyres, which has been a problem in twopiece moulds. However, the cost of these moulds is much higher due to design intricacies and highly demanding tolerance levels to be maintained during the manufacturing process

Shinh said Indian tyre companies have very competent design teams for developing complex tyre patterns. “We, as mould manufacturers, do not normally interfere in the tyre designing process, unless we receive designs which may create issues during the mould manufacturing or tyre manufacturing processes, or have imminent flaws that are directly visible.” But these are rare cases when it comes to established Indian tyre manufacturers, he observed. Mould engineers face major challenges when the automobile industry shifts its focus to lightweight vehicles. Shinh said his company is facing this challenge “not directly, but indirectly through the higher tolerance requirements which have been implemented to control the tyre weight.” The tyre weight is being controlled much more stringently than what was being done five years ago in order to control vehicle unsprung weight, he said. This benefits the tyre manufacturers as well as it brings better control over rubber consumption in the tyre building and curing processes.

Simulation techniques Thermal analysis is one the biggest concerns in order to improve the tyre curing process, Shinh observed. “However, these are not usually carried out as a part of our regular manufacturing procedure unless we are dealing with new designs pertaining to mould construction.” He said among the improvements seen in tyre mould design and manufacturing are new computer technologies. “The biggest advances we have seen are in the CAM section, where high-speed machining techniques have improved productivity greatly.” Improved computing power of both machines and design stations has thrown up many challenges to the programming processes. Special packages for tyre mould manufacturing have also been developed by various companies which have helped reduce programmer inputs into the process. They have also helped automating the design department work to a greater degree. Tyre mould makers have endorsed different CAD/ CAM packages, Shinh said. There are many packages available in the market – some with specialised modules for tyre and tyre mould design and some which are without these but with good modelling and machining strategies. The software products with specialised packages are usually very expensive, and are in most cases out of reach of most Indian tyre mould manufacturers, Shinh said. His company is using the CAD/CAM package developed by Delcam India, he disclosed. POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013




ocus on technology development and high standards of quality control have helped Taiwan-based Tien Sheng Molding (TSM) establish a niche in the global tyre industry. Over the past 30 years, the company has pursued its research and development efforts to adapt the latest technology to its production process. The strategy is the core element of its vision that it is quality that defines the winner.

Focus on quality, technology

“It is our firm belief that the best quality control, continued research and development of the latest technology, and providing best services is our promise to our clients. Thirty years of goodwill is our most sincere guarantee,” President Jason Lin said in an interview. TSM’s quality control department is fully equipped with inspection instruments and equipment for checking the final level of quality of its tyre moulds before they leave the production zone. Quality control is implemented according to ISO 9001-2008 standards. This assures TSM customers highest quality moulds, which in turn help tyre manufacturers maintain their own highest levels of quality assurance to the end users. TSM mastered the craft of low-pressure casting technology, which converts the aluminum pattern onto the mould cavity and therefore very fine and tiny pattern formed can enhance durability and also tyre surface excellence. In order to manufacture tyre moulds that achieve the best possible accuracy, precision equipment and highly skilled technicians are required. TSM has adopted a manufacturing process that utilises a range of advanced machining equipment.

assemblies. It provides tools to complete product definition, including functional tolerances, as well as kinematics definition.

The company introduced Toyo cast construction method from Japan in 1980 for its low-pressure casting process. The Toyo cast construction technology made considerable contribution to enhance TSM’s mould quality. TSM purchased the first engraving machine in the 1980s and now the company has eight factories for engraving machines and six sets of FiveAxis machines.


Among the range of TSM’s machining equipment is the use of advanced 5-axis engraving machines combined with extra high performance CATIA 3D software. CATIA (Computer Aided Three-dimensional Interactive Application) is a multi-platform CAD/CAM/CAE commercial software suite that enables the creation of 3D parts, from 3D sketches, sheet-metal, composites, moulded, forged or tooling parts up to the definition of mechanical


With special processing technology for reproduction of gypsum mould before it is processed with precision low-pressure casting technology, the thread pattern for either segmented mould or two-piece mould provides high-precision and correct specifications as required. Among the moulds from the TSM stable are segment moulds, two-pieces moulds, ventless moulds, MC moulds, bladder moulds, side plates, sipes, master models and rings. Segment Moulds: These are applicable to tyres with flat/level ratio less than 60. Also, some companies may use segment mould for the production of tyres less than 65 for the consideration of appearance. The most important advantage of such a mould is that it causes less damage to tyre in the stage of manufacturing. Two-piece Moulds: Normally, two-piece moulds are used for tyres with more than 65.70 of flat/level ratio. Its advantages lie in its mechanism, which is simple and its competitive production cost. Ventless Moulds: The design of a ventless

POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013

mould is to diminish the wastage of rubber caused by ventilation holes. Even as less as 0.2% of rubber wastage could become a substantial one in the long run. Considering the current raw material availability problems, the use of ventless moulds has become highly relevant. Such moulds comprise of multiple pieces attached onto the mould base without ventilation holes, so that it can enhance the appearance without causing processing waste. Michelin is among the leading tyre makers that use ventless moulds. MC Mould: An MC mould usually adopts two-piece mould because of its simple structure. It needs very short time during design and production phases, which perfectly suits the customers’ priority. A tube mould is used to produce the inner tube of tyre. Bladder Mould: A bladder mould is used to produce the bladder required by the tyre plant, with which the plant installs a curing unit for the manufacturing of tyres. Normally, such bladder can be outsourced in the case of small consumption, or acquired through self-production in case of very large consumption to save substantial cost. Bladder moulds can be categorised into the “common” type and the “injection” type.



s specialists in laser process technology, Germany-based 4JET Technologies is a major contributor to the tyre mould sector. The company’s mould cleaning solutions help enhance the quality of mould machines and tyres considerably. 4JET says its main task is to replace conventional mechanical or chemical processes by the use of touchless and dry laser technology. The company is a worldwide leading manufacturer of laser-based mould cleaning and marking solutions for tyre production. Tyre moulds need to be cleaned regularly to ensure a spotless appearance of the cured tyre. With the quality requirements of OEM-customers constantly increasing, tyre manufacturers are making significant efforts to improve the product appearance. With fancier tread patterns, the requirement for a flashless product surface and the use of sophisticated moulds, the importance of the mould cleaning process is growing. The JET technology offers numerous advantages in terms of cost and performance. The automated process cleans every section of the mould. The sophisticated 5-axis scanner directs the laser light under grooves and behind every sipe. The sidewall engravings are cleaned spotless and no “clouds” affect the tyre surface. Residues are immediately evacuated and filtered. The use of mobile machines reduces the press- and mould-downtimes significantly. The dismantling and mould “pulling” is being eliminated and the reheating of the presses is no longer necessary after the cleaning. The cleaning of one mould takes 30-45 minutes, depending on mould size, compound and curing cycles. The automated process only requires 10 minutes of labour time per mould cleaning. The safety is improved, as the operator does not have to climb in the hot press for manual cleaning. The nonabrasive laser cleaning does not damage the mould surface, says Jet. Other than blast cleaning, the mould lifetime is not being affected and the high reinvestment cost for moulds are being reduced. Fewer mould changes also result in better tyre uniformity and less re-forming time. Laser eliminates the use of blasting media that can plug vent holes. As moulds get dirty quicker than vent holes get plugged, it is possible to drastically reduce the amount of manual vent drilling. Fragile

Laser-cleaning of the mould spring vent systems can be cleaned by laser without any post-processing. And ventless puzzle moulds are to be cleaned by the abrasion-free laser process. Flexible cleaning process allows cleaning two-piece and segmented moulds in all common types of presses. The standard JET units can clean moulds with bead diameters of 13” to 21”. For MTR / TBR and other large diameter tyres, the process may be adapted into an off-line cleaning system. JET provides the laser cleaning service in cooperation with experienced subcontractors in Europe. The cleaning service allows plants to benefit from the advantages of the laser process without an initial investment. Its partner ENOTECH AG offers a full range of mould shop services. On a fixed price basis, ENOTECH takes care of mould storage and preparation, vent maintenance, laser mould cleaning as well as handling of the mould inventory database. According to the company, some of the world´s finest tyre makers use the JET technology today. The customised laser processes are being integrated into turnkey production equipment which the company designs, assembles and starts up. The software for operation and integration in the manufacturing execution systems is developed in house on PC and PLC controls, the company says. The innovative laser systems for ablation,

cleaning, patterning and modification of high-quality surfaces have been supporting the tyre as well as automobile industries. By combining laser process technology, optics, software and mechanical engineering 4JET creates integrated production systems.

4JET has also established its tyre marking system with several leading tyre makers. Individual running serial numbers, DOT date codes and other alphanumeric information can be engraved on a tyre by use of the 4JET T-Mark laser system. The laser system creates distinct markings on a designated position of the tyre sidewall. Tyre makers and their OE customers can trace the individual product years after the date of manufacture. Laser markings are more durable than barcode labels and more economical than RFID transponders. Laser markings are machine-readable in the plant and human-readable once in the field. The DOT code marking allows TREAD act compliance without need for weekly plate change and engraving or flipping of moulds. Laser marking can eliminate the need to produce and exchange millions of mould inserts for individual serial numbers or date codes. The fully automated systems help to reduce thousands of labor hours. Marking lasers require no consumables or maintenance, and have very low running cost. Improved product traceability provides significant additional benefits for tyre makers.

POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013


! w Ne ISBN:978-983-100-585-9 PAGES:276 SIZE: 152X228MM



s n o i t u b i r t n o C d n a t n e m p o l e v e Origin, D al Rubber Industry to the Natur

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I‌ congratulate Rajarao for unravelling the story of MARDEC from the origin and as it progressed to become the giant enterprise of today. I highly recommend this excellent ERRNQRWRQO\WR0DOD\VLDQVLQWHUHVWHGLQWKHLUFRXQWU\¡VSDWKWRGHYHORSPHQWEXWDOVRWR global players wanting to tackle the basic problem of processing smallholder produce into high-quality product. 'U&ROLQ%DUORZ Visiting Fellow, The Australian National University

“ “

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For copies contact:


)RUPHU'LUHFWRU*HQHUDORIWKH0DOD\VLDQ5XEEHU%RDUG &XUUHQWO\6HFUHWDU\ General of the Association of the Natural Rubber Producing Countries.

Rubber Asia, Kochi: Dhanam Publications Pvt.Ltd., Dhanam House, Cheruparambath Road, Kadavanthra, Cochin-682 020, India, Tel: +91-484-2315840, 2316494, Fax: +91-484-2317872, Email:, Website: Rubber Asia, Mumbai: 501/502, Imperial Plaza, Corner of 27th & 30th Rd., Near Nilgiri Garden, Bandra(W), Mumbai - 400 050. Tel: +91-22-26400829, 26400735, Fax: +91-22-26411894,,

Red Bull R raCe track

There is something about Red Bull that takes the concept of speed and driving skill to another level of adrenalin rush in this season of Formula 1 racing that the other teams find hard to compete. The 2013 season is in its home stretch and the team with Sebastian Vettel at the wheels has already crossed the checkered flag in finishing top. With 15 races down and four to go before the season winds up, Red Bull is tracks ahead in team leadership with 445 points. The closest competitor is Ferrari (297) followed by Mercedes (287) and Lotus-Renault (264). The bull-run this season has been so emphatic that it inspired even the rivals 88

POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013

Christian Horner Team Principal

l Run By PTA News Bureau


n one of the post race comments after the Japanese GP, Mercedes said Red Bull’s level of domination in Formula 1 over the second half of the season was an inspiration rather than an embarrassment. That tells the story of a bull run on the F1 race tracks across the world which remained unchallenged from Belgium to Japan in five consecutive races. The second half of the 2013 season has been all about Infinity Red Bull Racing, throwing to winds what many thought would be a close encounter between the UK-based Austrian team and Ferrari, which once red-ruled the tracks during the Schumacher days. The lead touched 148 points at the end of race 15, making the contest a mockery. The contest is now for the second position between Ferrari and Lotus and the talk is about who Red Bull’s rival would be in 2014. The Adrian Newey-designed Red Bull machines have been dominating F1 with lead driver Sebastian Vettel leading the

pack with 297 points after 15 races, followed by Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso (207). The Seb-Web (Mark Webber) Red Bull combo has given the team consistently up front performance. The team began racing the F1 in 2005 and from the start its commitment to podium performance has been consistent. By 2012 the team had six titles. For Team Principal Christian Horner, the task had been to manage the efforts of a huge team of people. “Formula One is the epitome of teamwork, an endeavour in which over 500 individuals all need to work in absolute harmony in order to achieve the end result on a Sunday afternoon,” he had said. Off-track, the team’s impact was just as immediate, as it brought a ‘work hard, play hard’ attitude to the paddock. With its three-storey Energy Station as its travelling HQ, the team brought haute cuisine, DJs, pop-up parties and intense games of table football to F1 in order to liven up the post-session evenings. Today the mega-motorhomes are a familiar sight

behind the garages; in 2005 it looked like a spaceship had dropped into the paddock.

New rules, new car Red Bull has not compromised on quality when it came to pick up the right people. Newey, the man behind its winning pedigreed thoroughbreds, saw to it that the cars lived up to its task. A comprehensive set of rule changes for 2009 gave the team the chance to build a radically different car and when the RB5 proved to be a front-runner, both Webber and new boy Vettel did not waste any time in turning it into a winner. The team is now facing a similar challenge when the F1 engine rules go for a major shift in the 2014 season. The

championship is adopting new 1.6-litre turbocharged V6 engines revving to a maximum of 15,000rpm. The current engines produce more than 750bhp, whilst the 2014 units will produce around 600bhp with additional power coming from Energy Recovery Systems. There are also tweaks to the rules concerning aerodynamics. That calls Horner and Newey back to the drawing board for Red Bull’s 2014 car RB10. Horner says since it is a “cousin” of the current car and there will be performance carry-over. “It’s a significant regulation change. The power unit is a huge unknown. It obviously becomes more of a performance differentiator than it has been previously. So therefore we rely heavily on Renault to make sure they have a competitive power unit,” The Telegraph quoted Horner saying. That said, nobody expects Red Bull to lose the run because of rule changes. It was the last such change that brought out the best in the team and this time again, fans expect the bull to keep charging from the front.

POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013





orsche’s 2014 911 Turbo Cabriolet and the 911 Turbo S Cabriolet convertibles have been unveiled ahead of their scheduled debut at the Los Angeles Motor Show in November. Ready for sales

to 560 horsepower, sending the car to 60 mph in 3.1 seconds. Both are all-wheel drives with remarkably quick PDK transmission. Another eyecatching feature of the 911 Turbo Cabriolet is the exclusive Porsche panel bow top with its lightweight magnesium frame. This innovative technology enables the Coupélike arch to the roof to be achieved when the top is closed. This arch, which also offers advantages in terms of aerodynamics, is not feasible using conventional construction techniques. As with predecessor models, the roof opens and closes in around 13 seconds, at speeds of up to 30 mph.

next year, the two top the 911 range.

The S-model boasts a particularly extensive range of furnishings, with features including an exclusive interior in Black/Carrera Red and adaptive Sport Seat Plus seats with 18-way adjustment and memory.

A 520-horsepower twin-turbo charged 6-cylinder raw power hits 0-62 mph in 3.3 seconds flat – faster by 0.2 seconds than its predecessor. For Turbo S, it can go up

As with the predecessor models, the Bose sound system is fitted as standard – and, for the first time, a Burmester system is also available on request.


oyota has officially taken the cover off its two-seater urban three-wheeled vehicle i-Road, which could dramatically redefine city driving. It will be ready for test-drives in 2014. The small car wonder measures 7.7 x 2.8 x 4.75 feet with a wheelbase of about 5.6-feet. Toyota showed off the i-Road at the CEATEC 2013 in Tokyo. The front-wheel drive i-Road uses what Toyota calls Active Lean technology that consists of a geared actuator affixed to each front wheel’s suspension arm. A computer manages the degree of lean of each front wheel. As the angle of lean

TOYOTA’S CITY-DRIVE EV I-ROAD READY FOR TEST-DRIVES IN 2014 of one wheel increases, the other lowers by the same amount. The front tyre measures 80/80R16, while the single rear tyre is 130/70R10. The 300 kg two-seater can turn in 3-metres. It uses an electric motor, with dual 2kw offerings, giving a maximum speed of 45kmh, making it just right for inner city traffic. It has an on-board


lithium-ion battery that helps the driver to travel about 50 kilometres. The initial i-Road units will be transferred to Toyota’s Harmonious Mobility Network (Ha:mo) urban transport system trials in Toyota City. Ha:mo has been designed as

POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013

a system to improve urban transportation by combining private car and public transportation and involves a car sharing system using ultra-compact electric vehicles that provide transportation to and within the city center. Ha:mo will have 100 i-Roads added to it in early 2014.

CATERHAM AEROSEVEN CONCEPT STUNNINGLY UNIQUE, ADVANCED introduction of new technology while remaining true to Caterham’s philosophy of delivering accessible fun. It hints a styling direction for future models, including the all-new sportscar being developed in conjunction with Renault that is due for release in early 2016.


aterhams has presented its AeroSeven Concept, which will go into production next year carrying the typical company stamp of light weight and high power. The dashboard toggle switch under a red safety cover, usually associated with missile launchers, tells the story of

0-100 kmph in four seconds. Designed for effective roll protection, the racer has an interactive digital display. It does not have a windscreen. The AeroSeven Concept is stunningly unique and advanced, featuring the

The concept, which draws heavily on methods used by the F1 team, will be the first ever Caterham model to be fitted with traction control. Thanks to a newly developed Caterham Engine Management System, drivers will be able to enjoy fullyadjustable traction and launch control functionality. The engine is a naturally-aspirated, EU6approved, 237bhp engine developed by Caterham Technology & Innovation for the recently launched Caterham Seven 485.



arley Davidson has lined up its new 2014 edition of Street Glide for the Indian market, where the American icon has conquered a huge fan following. It is pure street style and long haul comfort at its best, claims Harley. The 2014 Harley-Davidson Street Glide model FLHX is a custom hot-rod bagger with an amazing Harley style. As part of Project RushMore, it’s been totally redesigned for 2014 from headlight to taillight to make the look sleek and the touring ride better. The batwing fairing has been totally redesigned to maintain its iconic shape, yet reduce head buffeting. There’s a new high output Twin Cam 103 engine mated to a 6 speed cruise drive transmission that together put more passing, hill climbing and passenger carrying power at your disposal than ever before.

The 2014 Street Glide features the new Reflex anti-lock braking system (ABS) with dynamically, electronically linked brakes for optimum braking regardless of road conditions. It has redesigned saddlebags for a sleeker look and reinvented latches

that can be operated with one hand. The new Boom Box 4.3 infotainment system takes music and technology to a place that has to be seen and heard to be believed. The Harley Street Glide FLHX model has a 2-1-2 exhaust.

POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013


COMPANY WATCH Apollo-cooper deal hangs in balance over share price issue


he proposed acquisition of Cooper Tire and Rubber Co. by the Indian tyre maker Apollo Tyres Ltd hit the rough after Apollo asked Cooper to lower the share price of $35 a share, which forced Cooper to file a suit in a US court accusing Apollo of trying to backtrack from the deal. The $2.5 billion proposed deal hung in balance as the two sides tried to resolve the issue through forming a joint team to deal with it, media reports said. The deal signed in June 2013 has not gone well with Cooper workers. Further trouble erupted when workers in Cooper Chengshan Tire Co in China’s eastern Shandong province struck work demanding cancellation of the deal. The United Steelworkers’ Union in the US, which has a large number of Cooper workers, also raised objections to the buy-out attempt. October 4 was t the deadline for the closure of the deal, but Apollo asked Cooper for an extension of the date. Cooper, in its suit, accused Apollo of delaying the deal. It also claimed that Apollo had sought a discount of $2.5 per share on the initial offer ($35) and later $8-9 per share.

case it will have to pay $50 million to Apollo. If the deal crashes due to Apollo’s failure to complete it and if Cooper demands a break-up fee, Apollo may have to pay $112 million, the reports said.

Bridgestone remains world number one in tyre sales


or the fifth consecutive time Bridgestone tyres has retained its position as the world’s largest tyre maker by sales, according to Rubber & Plastics News annual global ranking for tyre manufacturers. The Japanese tyre maker’s estimated tyremanufacturing-related sales was $28.6 billion in 2012, putting it well ahead of the French giant Michelin by more than $2 billion and nearly $9.5 billion ahead of third-placed Goodyear. Continental A.G. remained at fourth place in the list at $10.9 billion, while Japan’s Sumitomo overtook Pirelli to claim fifth place by a slim margin, $7.76 billion to $7.63 billion. Hankook moved ahead of Yokohama for to take seventh and eighth respectively and Taiwan’s Maxxis International/Cheng Shin Rubber Co. Ltd. and China’s Hangzhou Zhongce Rubber Co. Ltd. kept their ninth and tenth rankings.

The merger, if concluded positively, would lead to the creation of the world’s seventh largest tyre power. Apollo would gain access to the huge US and China markets where Cooper has strong presence.

The tyre manufacturers are ranked on their revenue from the sale of tyres, excluding sales of non-tyre products, including autoservice-related revenue at company-owned retail stores, sales of steel cord, synthetic rubber or carbon black to third parties.

Reports in the media said if the issue remains unresolved by the end of the year, Cooper will walk away from the deal, in which

The top 10 tyre companies account for nearly 65 per cent of the world’s tyre sales, according to Rubber & Plastic News statistics.


POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013



ridgestone has rolled out its Ecopia new edition product line. The R268 premium all-position radial is designed for regional and pickup and delivery fleets providing tire performance that stands up to high scrub environments while offering fuel efficiency advantages too.

The tyre has a unique tread design and comes with protective features in the casing to help resist damage from curbing and maneuvering scrub, extending tread life. The wave channel design reduces groove bottom strain, combating the initiation and spread of irregular wear. The ribs are proportioned for added stiffness, helping to reduce irregular wear throughout the footprint. The NanoPro-Tech compound in the R268 limits energy loss for improved rolling resistance and optimum fuel efficiency and the high scrub tread compound enhances resistance to tread scrubbing while increasing tread life.



ichelin has announced the launch of its XZY3 HD for commercial vehicle industry. The XZY3 HD tyre is aimed at improving mileage, fuel saving and safety. The new tyre would cater to the growing needs of fleet owners from multiple commercial vehicle segments and the tyre would deliver superior performance on Indian roads, the company said. The revolutionary Michelin Casing that enables a Michelin tyre to be retreaded again and again is further made stronger in XZY3 HD because of a new reinforced bead design. The new bead is bigger and more robust. With a reinforced bead MICHELIN XZY3 can be used for multiple lives. The XZY3 HD is a re-engineered tyre that comes with an additional metallic crown ply that ensures even wear and high endurance hence offering better longevity. This also ensures minimised tyre failure due to shock impact.



oodyear’s new KMAX and FUELMAX will help lower fleet operating costs thanks to the extended mileage and low rolling resistance they offer, the company claims. The KMAX range has been developed for improved mileage performance, while not compromising on other important criteria such as fuel efficiency and traction. Likewise the FUELMAX range is for the operator seeking to optimise fuel efficiency combined with good mileage. The new tyres replace the successful Goodyear Long Haul and Regional Haul ranges, which included the Regional RHS II, RHD II+ and RHT II tyres as well as the frugal Marathon LHS II+, LHD II+ and LHT II tyres and can be used for both long haul and regional haul applications.



ankook Tyres has unveiled its i-Flex design airless wheeland-tyre concept designed to increase vehicle efficiency by

improving a car’s energy conversion, while also being more ecologically sustainable than conventional wheels and tyres. It is almost entirely constructed from recyclable polyurethane synthetic materials. The i-Flex concept is considerably lighter than conventional wheeland-tyre combinations. The wheel-rim unit is also claimed to offer greater shock absorbency than air-filled tyres, increasing passenger comfort while reducing fuel consumption and noise emissions. Being airless, the i-Flex tyre cannot go flat, or even lose tyre pressure, ensuring a vehicle’s engine never has to work harder – and increase its fuel consumption – to compensate for lost pressure. The i-Flex uses an intricate array of geometric cells lining the inside of the “wheel,” allowing the whole unit to act as an integrated suspension component. The energy from bumps and ruts is distributed and dissipated equally across the structure, providing consistent rigidity.



umho has marked the launch of its all new Ecsta PS91 Super UHP tyre with the announcement that it is sponsoring well established track day organiser GP Exec. According to the CEO of GP Exec, Paul Steer, having Kumho on board is a great boost to the GP Exec track days particularly with the launch of Kumho’s first S-UHP tyre. The ECSTA PS91 is best optimised for supercars and high end performance cars. The tyre is said to incorporate Kumho’s motorsport experience. This facilitates a marked improvement in high-speed driving safety and cornering. The Ecsta PS91 delivers “enhanced grip, braking ability, high-speed durability and uniform ride qualities.” The new range is available in eight sizes for 19 and 20-inch rim diameters with a speed rating over 300km/h The tyre offers immediate handling response by wide shoulder and rib-type center block design. It has maximised tyre grip and block stiffness of rear tyres with optimised groove pattern design and improved NG% Speed Rating It has stable durability and running performance at over 300km/h speed rating - the highest speed rating for tyres with speed capability over 300km/h.



iti Tire has extended the GT Radial mixed service offering with the launch of the GAM831, a new non-directional, all-position tyre specially developed for on and off road applications. Available in 295/80R22.5,the tyre has been developed with an extremely robust tread pattern, casing construction and extra reinforced sidewall to offer maximum performance, even wear and good mileage in the most arduous terrain conditions.

Three extra deep wide longitudinal grooves provide stability and control in wet or muddy conditions, the tyre is M&S marked indicating excellent all-season traction, while self cleaning properties prevent stone drilling. The GAM831 joins the GT01, GT676, GT686 and GT876 in the company’s mixed service portfolio. POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013


c a l e nda r N O V Global Tire Expo 2013 (SEMA) 2013 uLas Vegas, Nevada, USA. uNovember 5-8, 2013 N O V RubberTech China & Reifen China 2013 2013 uSWEECC, Shanghai World Expo Exhibition & Convention Center, China. uNovember 13-15, 2013 uWebsite:, www.reifenchina D E C Vietnam Rubber Dinner 2013 2013 uHo Chi Minh City, Vietnam. uDecember 6, 2013 F E B Tire Technology Expo 2014 2014 uat Cologne, Germany uFebruary 11-13, 2014 uContact: Colin Scott, Sales Director uTel: +44 (0) 1306 743744, uEmail: M AR India Rubber Meet 2014 2014 uHotel Le Meridien, Kochi, Kerala, India. uFebruary 20-21 2014 uContact: Toms Joseph, Dy. Director, Rubber Board, uEmail: M AR Tyrexpo Africa 2014 2014 uSandton Exhibiton Centre, Johannesburg. uMarch 4-6, 2014 uContact: Rowena Suthers, ECI International Ltd, uTel: + 44 (0) 1892 863888, uEmail: M AR Rubber Technology Expo 2014 / Rubber Products 2014 World Expo 2014/ Bangkok International Tire Expo 2014 BITEC uBangkok, Thailand. uMarch 12-15, 2014 uContact: Peram Prasada Rao, Tel: 66-2-33 0077 uEmail: M AR Tyre & Rubber Indonesia 2014, JIExpo, 2014 Jakarta, Indonesia. uMarch 19-22, 2014 uEmail Sally Dietz at

Tires & Rubber 2014 uRussian Federation, 123100, Moscow. uApril 22–25, 2014

APRIL PnewShow Recaufair/Expobor 2014 uExpo Center Norte, Sao Paulo, Brazil. uApril 23-25, 2014 uContact: Maria Cristina Botelho, uTel: 5511 2226-3166, uEmail:, uWebsite: M A Y TRA Annual Dinner 2014 2014 uBangkok, Thailand. uMay 9, 2014. M A Y Rubber and Tyre Vietnam 2014 2014 uSaigon Exhibition and Convention Center, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

uMay 14-16, 2014 uContact: Shirley Abraham, Manager, uInternational Sales & Marketing, CNCIC India, uMobile: +91 9840641101 uEmail:

M A Y World Rubber Summit 2014 2014 uSingapore. uMay 19, 2014 (Provisional) M A Y Reifen Essen 2014 2014 uEssen, Germany uMay 27-30, 2014 M A Y Automechanika Dubai 2014 2014 uorganised by Epoc Messe Frankfurt GmbH (MF) at Dubai International Exhibition and Convention Centre, Dubai, UAE. uJune 3-5, 2014 uContact: Richard McKeon, Tel. +971 4 3894548 urichard.mckeon J U L Y Latin American & Caribbean Tyre Expo 2014 2014 uPanama City, Panama uJuly 23-25, 2014 uContact: Linda Bassit, Show Director, uEmail: uTel: +1 (786) 293-5186, Cell: +1 (305) 987-9038 A U G Rubexpo 2014 2014 uSLECC, Colmbo, Sri Lanka uAugust 14-16, 2014 A U G Automotive Aftermath Show 2014 2014 uOrlando, Florida, USA uAugust 20-22, 2014 S E P MARGMA Conference & Expo 2014 uKuala Lumpur, Malaysia uSeptember 2-4, 2014 S E P ITEC 2014 2014 uCleveland , Ohio, U S A uSeptember 9-11, 2014 uContact: Sarah, Tel: 330 865 6169 uwww. uEmail: O C T Brityrex International 2014 2014 uEventCity, Manchester, England, UK. uOctober 7-9, 2014 uMedia contacts: Rowena Suthers, Tel: + 44 (0) 1892 863888, Email: www. J A N 8th India Rubber Expo & Tyre Show 2015 2014 uPragati Maidan, New Delhi, India. uJanuary 15-17, 2015 uContact: Tel: +91 22 28392095 / 2107 uEmail: uWebsite: M AR Tyrexpo Asia 2015 2014 Singapore Expo Centre, Singapore. March 24- 26, 2015 Contact: Rowena Suthers, ECI International Ltd, Tel: + 44 (0) 1892 863888, Email: POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013


Special REPORT The second Asian Tyre and Rubber Conference (ATRC 2013), organised by Polymers & Tyre Asia and held at Hyatt Regency Hotel, Chennai, India on June 21-22, hosted eminent tyre industry experts from across the world who presented high-value papers on the core theme “Technology Advancement and Innovations: Road to a Green Planet.” Here are excerpts from some of the presentations. More papers to be published in subsequent issues

Closing the loop around tyre production Vasant S Bhat

Micropoise, Amtek India


educing scrap is one way of saving the environment from nonbiodegradable wastes and tyre industry is a large contributor of scrap. The standard practice in today’s tyre plants is to conduct tyre test forfinal finish at the end of the production line. Many times the final finish data is stored and not used again. This leads to trial-and-error (“open loop”) process improvement. There is heavy dependency on human interactions and that leads to high inconsistency. Individual materials and tyre components need to be tracked and traced through the manufacturing process. Each tyre has to be identified “at birth” and traced through the rest of the manufacturing process and intermediate data and results to be linked to ultimate quality measurements. This enables “fail fast” detection and minimises in-process scrap. New capabilities are needed here. Two transformational development initiatives

Tyre moulds as a success factor for green tyre Michael Stops

Director of Sales, AZ Formen


oulds influence tyre manufacturing process as well as tyre performance. In fact, modern mould makers are innovation centres for tyre manufacturers. The influence of a mould on modern tyres covers areas such as dynamic imbalances, noise generation, water displacement and design. Moulds also influence the production process in the reduction of scraped tyres, waste material and energy consumption. It


also prevents release agents and reduces the time to market. There are no scraped tyres at start up of new pattern and the system is already fully operative from the very first tyre. There is full manufacturing efficiency from start up. Moulds also help the reduction of energy consumption as the container moves segments in at top position and there is optimised heat transfer by large and plane contacts. There is optimised combination of contact materials regarding heat transfer and friction.

POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013

have been introduced - Test, Acquire, Upload, Report, Usable, Statistics (TAURUS) and Automated Tire Line Inspection System (ATLIS). TAURUS is a centralised data storage and visualisation platform for plant-wide data that enables automatic monitoring engines to watch over production and quality. ATLIS is for automatic cured tyre inspection. It is based on modular technology and is put exactly where it is needed. The capabilities of TAURUS include barcode management & traceability, basic data management, recipe management and provenance data collection & reports, which adds tyre traceability through entire tyre manufacturing process that can be linked to final quality data to drive process improvement and cost savings. ATLIS combines several software-assisted scanning and imaging technologies and can be used together in a single machine or optimally located as close to the sources of variation as possible. It helps minimises in-process and final tyre scrap and boosts operating efficiency gains.

Global retread industry David Stevens, Managing Director

Tire Retread & Repair Information Bureau (TRIB)


rom its founding in 1974 TRIB’s mission has been to promote and defend the retread and repair industries worldwide. This is done mainly through a strong online presence, dealing with myths and negative press, strong Board of Directors and large global membership. About 7% of TRIB’s online portal as visitors are from India, second only to US. The number of retreading plants in the US has declined from 12,000 in 1950 to less than 2,000 in 2012 while output has remained same. Among the retread plants in the US, 680 are for commercial truck tyres followed by 18 for OTR, five for aircraft and four for passenger car tyres. About 94% of commercial truck

retread processes follow pre-cure method. Bridgestone leads in the market share for retreaded truck tyres in the US at 42% followed by Goodyear, Michelin and Marangoni. Retreading is increasingly important in the marketplace and to end users. It uses only 7 gallons of oil compared with 22 gallons in new tyres. Also it keeps out millions of tyres from landfills. There are also government requirement in the US to use retreads as well as EPA Smartway Verification system. In 2011 the global export of retreaded tyres was to the tune of US$253 million, led by the EU (around US$120,000) far ahead of Thailand, Hong Kong, South korea and the US (around US$20,000). But China led in the margin of increase (US$120%) in export of retreaded tyres between 2009 and 2011.

Enhancing tyre quality and performance Jan Bambuch,

Sales Operations Manager, Pneufoam Hulin


n the near future at least 80% of mould manufacturers reache 95% of quality. Only 20% may be focused on local markets. Certainly considerable level of consolidations is inevitable Keeping the overall dimensions and tolerances, material properties in accordance with customer standards may be considered as “quality.” Most of the mould manufacturing companies will be capable to deliver products of the same or similar standard quality. Today´s excellent product quality becomes an average quality. Attaining top quality (tackling “the last 5%”) largely depends upon marketing and PR, technology, processes and human

resources. Generally, 95 per cent of products are of excellent quality where properties of tire moulds meet general standard and prices are on the commonly acceptable level. The “last 5 per cents” are “Greener” and cost-saving products with enhanced life cycle. They are more durable and gain greater productivity Master models focus on geometrical accuracy and quality (±0,03 mm), no post-processing, Twi, SWI, stud pins have vent holes introduced in models, all stamping introduced on models as inscription or stamping support lines, best quality material for master models and 3D inspection of master models. The basic idea is based on the assertion that the mechanical properties of an alloy are the better and the smaller grain size. Тhat depends on cooling rate in the solidification interval.

POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013


Special REPORT

Indian automotive market - a roadmap; impact on tyre market V G Ramakrishnan Managing Director - South Asia, and Global Co-Leader Automotive Practice,

result of the aspiration-driven automobile market of India. As the purchasing power of the population increases, so does its aspiration to own bigger and more luxurious cars, mainly because these are perceived as status symbols.


Increasing average running distance of vehicles leads to shortening of replacement cycle, increasing aftermarket tyre sales. A dip in the medium commercial vehicle (MCV) segment would translate to more demand in light commercial vehicle (LCV) and heavy commercial vehicle (HCV) tyres.

Frost & Sullivan, India

round 38 per cent of the total Indian population is to live in urban regions by 2025 and cities will account for 70 per cent of India’s GDP by 2030. By 2020. out of 2.56 billion of the global population aged between 15 and 34 years (“Gen Y” today), 61% will be from Asia alone. India will have the highest increase in working age population (15-64 years) globally (2010-2020) at 119 million and will be a source of competitive advantage. Based on these projections, the Indian automobile industry is expected to grow at a CAGR of 12.84 per cent that directly translates to a demand for tyres. A shift in customer preference from small to bigger cars and SUVs will increase the demand for bigger-sized tyres. This trend is a

The current radial tyre penetration is estimated at about 17% in the Small Commerical Vehicle segment. This is estimated to reach 25% by 2017. In the LCV segment the current penetration is estimated at about 12%, which is estimated to reach about 28-30% by 2017. For Trucks and Buses, this could grow from the current 16% to about 20% by 2017.

Indian tyre market forecast Karan Chechi,

Research Director, Tech-Sci Research, India


he last decade saw dynamic shifts in the global tyre industry, including the emergence of Asia, European tyre labeling legislation and volatile raw material pricing among other things. There is a trend of increasing Asian import in volume. Non-Indian Asian tyre makers such as Hankook and Kumho have moved into the Indian OEM sector. The passenger vehicle segment is growing. The current trend shows more demand for SUVs. Tyre makers are watching the changing industry landscape, for which they need to remould their products and also production capacity. The global tyre industry revenue was $162 billion in 2012 out of which the Asian share was the largest at 32 per cent


POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013

(India 5%) followed by Europe (26) and the US (24). Asia is expected to continue enhancing its grip on the global tyre sales, which is expected to increase by 6 per cent in 2018. The Indian tyre market generated revenue of $8.76 billion in 2012. The Compound Annual Growth Rate is expected to grow by 18% by 2018. Replacement tyre segment will continue to drive the Indian market. Currently 65 per cent of revenue generated is from aftermarket followed by OE (23) and exports (12). Replacement tyre market will grow to 72 per cent by 2018. Two-wheeler segment leads tyre sales volume at 53 per cent, but generates only 13 per cent of total revenue. On the other hand, the heavy trucks and buses segment accounts for 12 per cent sales and 54 per cent of revenue. The Indian tyre volume is expected to grow 16-17 per cent in the next five years.

High and ultra high strength coated wire for radial tyres Atanu Banerjee, Principal Researcher, Tata Steel Ltd., India


lot of processing is needed to make steel wires compatible with rubber. The performance of the composite depends on adhesion at the interface. It is based on how good the rubber can adhere to the steel cord surface through coating. Chemical/ electro chemical bonding is important in rubber-steel adhesion. The composition of the coating can be varied from 3 – 6.5 weight% Sn. Cu-Sn coating shows higher adhesion strength than Cu coating The surface of the steel wire controls reactivity at the interface. Cleanliness, surface texture (roughness and profile) surface chemistry, coating thickness, oxide structure and thickness and functional coating impact the strength of the coating. The processing route of the steel wire includes three modules: Electro cleaning for degreasing & electro pickling, metallic

coating and post-treatment rinsing and drying. Simulation is used to find the right kind of texture for the steel wire surface. The main parameters include acid concentration (pH), electro pickling/cleansing current density, bath temperature and time. The main objective of metallic coating is to understand the interfacial science for Cu-Sn coating system to maximise the adhesion strength. Challenges in coating design include plant quality in laboratory, interface - difficulty to characterise (15 – 25 nm), minimising CuS and promoting CuXS (X – 1.8), Zn forms ZnO; reduce surface activity of Cu. Steel plates are used for detailed coating characterization. The composition of the coating can be varied from 3 – 6.5 weight% Sn. Also, composition has no effect on coating thickness and roughness. Cu-Sn coating shows higher adhesion strength than Cu coating. The highest adhesion strength was achieved for 3- 4 weight% Sn in coating.

Managing product fatigue performance early WV Mars

President, Endurica LLC


atigue performance is a phenomenon that is generally dealt with at the end of product development, which makes it difficult and much costlier to resolve. This would call for very expensive equipment to evaluate the issue. Hence it is very important to deal with fatigue issues early in the production development stage when it will be easier and cheaper. Up front fatigue analysis also gives time to evaluate the issue and to discuss the matter. There is a lot at stake in case of a design failure at the end of the production phase. The consequences include safety, litigation, product recall, retooling, warranty costs and brand perception. Characterisation of material and simulation are important for applying durability solutions on time. Characterisation indicates likely fatigue performance in actual service, reveals performance

sensitivities to design options and governing parameters, shows bounds of available operating space, feeds simulation-based damage analysis and also empowers well-founded material development decisions. Fatigue measurement throws up many challenges. Tests consume time on expensive equipment. The upper limit on time budget is often much less than full service life. Other challenges include observing a representative range of operating conditions, acquiring sufficient record of damage development for analysis and minimising number of specimens consumed. Fatigue analysis has proven value. It has commercially available capability for metals since the ‘90s, is proven for qualifying design concepts, engaging fatigue issues early in the design cycle saves larger downstream troubles. Value in professional grade analysis tools and specialist support has created an entire industry.

POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013


Special REPORT

ATRC 2013: A Class Act


TRC once again proved to be a remarkable success, attracting some of the best brains in the tyre and rubber industry from across the world. The organizing team led by renowned rubber technology consultant Zachariah George did a thorough job of presenting the event at the highest standards of professionalism.


Thanks to the high quality of the papers presented by eminent speakers on the core theme “Technology Advancement and Innovations – Road to a Green Planet,” the technical sessions saw full house of audience right through the two-day conference – an unusual feature of many such industry conferences where seats become empty in the final

POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013

sessions when people rush to catch their flight. ATRC 2013 saw all seats taken right up to the final announcement when the organisers invited them for the next edition of the event – ATRC 2015. The Panel Session on “Innovations in Business” was an occasion for every participant to move into their interactive best when the discussion touched subjects related to sustainability and what it calls for. There were questions and counter questions when new ideas and opinions were aired.

states of the country, was something to remember for a long time, not only to the overseas delegates, but also to the home delegates who are familiar with the event. ATRC will return in 2015 reloaded, promised the organisers. We will take this to the next level, they said.

The off-session hours of ATRC 2013 too provided valuable opportunity for participants to interact, network and share ideas. It turned out to be a very good business opportunity to many when people from different areas of the industry moved around, meeting the right person. The atmosphere was relaxed and the ambience just right for the occasion. The cocktail and dinner and the cultural programmes that preceded it provided a cheerful interlude in between the two-day event. The Dances of India, depicting the different dance forms from the various

POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013




GRAND OCCASION: Datuk Dr. Salmiah Ahmad, Director General, Malaysian Rubber Board, presents the Tan Sri Dr. B.C. Sekhar Gold Medal 2012 to Dr T A Soman, Scientist, Rubber Board, India, during the IRSD 2013 held in Kochi

KOCHI TURNS GLOBAL RUBBER CAPITAL T he inaugural edition of the two-day Asian Latex Conference (ALC 2013) and the fifth edition of the one-day India Rubber Summit & Dinner (IRSD 2013), both organized by Rubber Asia, Asia’s premier rubber magazine, brought together leaders and stakeholders of the global rubber industry to South Indian port city Kochi, the gateway to India’s biggest natural rubber hub of Kerala. The twin events, held back-to-back from September 5, 2013, saw the bigwigs of the industry taking stock of the current situation and discussing future strategies.

The highlight of IRSD 2013 was the presentation of Tan Sri Dr. B.C. Sekhar Gold Medal 2012 instituted by Rubber Asia to the most significant contributor to the world rubber industry in recent years. This year the award went to Dr T A Soman, Scientist, Rubber Board, India.


POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013

World rubber industry leaders, key decision makers, heads of the Rubber Boards and Rubber Research Institutes of major NR producing countries, leaders of important rubber industry organisations such as the IRSG, ANRPC, SICOM and AIRIA actively participated in the deliberations. Over 400 delegates and speakers attended the two events.

ALC 2013 The Asian Latex Conference (ALC) 2013, organised in association with Rubber Board, offered a rare global platform for the leaders in the latex and dipped goods industry to come together and discuss topical issues of common concern. The inaugural edition of the biennial event was rated “excellent” by the over 200 delegates from

ALC OPENING: Sheela Thomas, Chairman, Rubber Board, India, lights the lamp during the opening cermony of the first ALC in Kochi

ALC also provided a great networking opportunity for all in the global NR and SR latex and dipped goods industry such as processors, manufacturers of gloves, condoms, catheters, balloons etc., raw materials & chemicals suppliers, mould & machinery makers, traders, besides leaders and experts in the industry

across the globe. The conference attracted high profile of speakers and high quality presentations. The impeccable organization of the event, which was handled by the team led by Dr Jay Nambiar, the Chairman of ALC 2013, won over the participants, most of who promised to return to its next edition to be held in 2015. The ALC focused its discussions on the theme “Innovations in Latex Processing & Products Manufacturing.” The speakers stressed the need for closer cooperation between research bodies and organizations to fully tap the tremendous growth potential of the latex industry. ALC also provided a great networking opportunity for all in the global NR and SR latex and dipped goods industry such as processors, manufacturers of gloves, condoms, catheters, balloons etc., raw materials & chemicals suppliers, mould & machinery makers, traders, besides leaders and experts in the industry. A mini exhibition that ran concurrent with ALC 2013 showcased the latest technologies and innovative products and services offered by industry majors. The companies and institutions that actively participated in the event included the Indian Rubber Board, the Malaysian Rubber Board, the International Rubber Study Group (IRSG), the Rubber Research Institue of India (RRII), the Rubber Research Institute of Sri Lanka, HLL Lifecare Ltd, India, Kossan Rubber Industries Bhd., Malaysia, CUPID Ltd, India, Dip Tec Associates Inc., USA, Dipped Products PLC, Sri Lanka, SIBELCO, Malaysia, Malaysian Rubber Glove Manufacturers Association (MARGMA) etc.

Dr Nambiar, in his opening address, said the first edition of ALC was successful in lining up an array of experts from the local and global latex industry to deliberate on key industry issues. John Powath, Executive Director, Dhanam Publications Pvt. Ltd., welcomed the gathering. Inaugurating the event, Sheela Thomas, Chairman, Rubber Board, India, said the narrowing price gap between natural rubber and synthetic rubber latices, technological advancements that have solved most of the inherent disadvantages of latex, steady increase in the use of NR latex in medical products etc were pointers to a bright future for latex based products. NR producing countries have good prospects for latex products manufacturing mainly on account of relatively high NR content of the products. The recent shift in demand for latex foam against its synthetic substitutes showed that there was an increasing preference for products based on natural raw materials, she added. In his presidential address, Dato’ Dr Ong Eng Long, Technical Advisor to CEO, Kossan Rubber Industries Bhd., Malaysia, the Corporate Sponsor of ALC 2013, outlined the growth of Kossan from a five-man operation developing cutless bearing for the marine industry in 1979 into a world leader in manufacturing gloves of top quality. The company, which produced 60 million pieces of gloves per annum in the beginning, today has 160 lines producing 16 billion pieces annually, commanding 10% of the world market share, he said. The company also produces technical rubber products for industrial and medical applications. POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013



C Vinayaraghavan, President – SBU, Harrisons Malayalam Ltd., who delivered the keynote address, called for effective steps to set right the imbalance between production and consumption of latex. Extension of rubber cultivation to non-traditional areas, adoption of good agricultural practices, popularisation of rain guarding, creation of skilled manpower, introduction of a clonal exchange programme etc are some of the measures suggested by him to step up latex production. Damith Dias, Group Business Development Manager, Dipped Products PLC, Sri Lanka, gave a special address in which he highlighted the rapid


POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013

economic development being achieved by Sri Lanka after the LTTE war. The Master Plan for the development of the rubber industry formulated by the Government seeks to raise the total export turnover of the industry to $ 3 billion by 2020, he added. The sessions spread over two days saw a galaxy of speakers who made enlightening presentations on various facets of the latex industry. The conference concluded with a panel discussion on Innovations in Latex Processing & Products Manufacturing chaired by Dr Jay Nambiar. The panel members included Dato’ Dr Ong Eng Long, Dr James Jacob, David Hill,

Dr Wava Truscott, Dr Amir Hashim Mohd Yatim, No Dock Moung and Dr Siby Varghese. Kurian Abraham, Editor & Managing Director, Dhanam Publications Pvt. Ltd., while proposing a vote of thanks, termed the conference as a big success and said it generated innovative ideas and valuable suggestions for the rubber industry.

IRSD 2013 The 5th annual India Rubber Summit & Dinner (IRSD 2013) was noted for the world renowned rubber experts and industry leaders expressing their optimism about a bright future for the industry amid lingering challenges. Sheela Thomas, Chairman, Rubber Board, delivered the inaugural address, setting the tone of the summit, which was themed on Rubber Industry: Opportunities in the Challenging World Economy. In her optimistic notes, she said, in spite of the lingering global economic slowdown, there were some positive signals in rubber sector. “The 8.1% growth in rubber consumption by China in the first half of 2013, 4.1% growth in NRL consumption, rise in vehicles sales in China and the US, stability of currencies of major NR exporting countries etc. suggest good times for the rubber industry,” she pointed out Datuk Dr. Salmiah Ahmad, Director General, Malaysian Rubber Board, in her keynote address underlined the importance of devising a strategy comprising factors like increasing the local supply of natural rubber, enhancing the competitiveness of local natural rubber, increasing each country’s share of NR products and producing and promoting green and other specialty rubbers on the lines of Malaysia. Talking on the present demand-supply challenges,

Dato’ Dr. Kamarul Baharain Basir, Secretary General, ANRPC, pointed out that opportunities for positive supply growth of NR are encouraging. He called upon the ANRPC members to strive for balance between future global supply and demand of NR. “Improvement in USA, China, Japan and Europe economic indicators for year 2013 and beyond are favourable to NR producers,” he added. A high profile international seminar addressed by a galaxy of global rubber experts and industry leaders, was attended by industry leaders including Dr Dock No Moung, Senior Economist, IRSG, Singapore, Or Tang Teng, Managing Director, Doshin Rubber Sdn Bhd, Dr James Jacob, Director, Rubber Research Institute of India(RRII), Gopi Sekhar, Sekhar Research Innovations Sdn Bhd, Malaysia, Anil Misra, Managing Director, National Multi Commodity Exchange (NMCE), India, MF Vohra, CMD, Zenith Industrial Rubber Products Pvt.Ltd, Niraj Thakkar, President, All India Rubber Industries Association (AIRIA), Vinod Simon, Chairman, Rubber Skill Development Council (RSDC) and Sanjay Bhatnagar, CEO, ISRL.

The 5th annual India Rubber Summit & Dinner (IRSD 2013) was noted for the world renowned rubber experts and industry leaders expressing their optimism about a bright future for the industry amid lingering challenges.

The day-long conference concluded with a panel discussion on Creating Opportunities in a Challenging World Economy chaired by Dr.Tapan Chatterjee, MIT Universal Solutions, Bangkok. Crowning the whole event was the presentation of Tan Sri Dr. B.C. Sekhar Gold Medal 2012 instituted by Rubber Asia to the most significant contributor to the world rubber industry in recent years. PC Cyriac, the Jury Chairman, introduced the winner Dr T A Soman, Scientist, Rubber Board, India. The Gold Medal was presented to him by Datuk Dr. Salmiah Ahmad amidst standing ovation by the distinguished guests and delegates. Dr D Babu Paul IAS, former Chief Secretary of Kerala, delivered the Dinner Talk. POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013



SUCCESS STORY: The exhibiting companies at the 2012 show were pleased about well-visited booths, excellent networking possibilities and numerous business deals

Reifen China to host 120 exhibitors, bigger retread presence R eifen China 2013, the largest Asian tyre industry exhibition, will host more than 120 exhibitors who will showcase their ranges on offer in the fields of tyres, wheels and garages. The organisers, Messe Essen and China United Rubber Corporation, are registering a slight plus with regard to the exhibitors in comparison with last year. The Shanghai New International Expo Exhibition Center will be the venue of the November 13 – 15 mega fair.

The exhibitors will include all the top 15 tyre manufacturers in China, including Double Coin Holdings, Shandong Linglong Tyre and Cooper Chengshan. In addition, companies from Germany, Belgium, Russia, the Netherlands, Malaysia, the USA, the United Arab Emirates, Poland, Japan, India, Great Britain and Thailand will show their portfolios. Bundesverband Reifenhandel und VulkaniseurHandwerk (BRV - “Federal Association of the Tyre Trade and the Vulcanisers’ Skilled Trade”) will be the ideal sponsor of Reifen China.


POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013

The strengths of Reifen China will include the direct contact between manufacturers and dealers. Over 45 per cent of the exhibitors will be manufacturers and another 40 per cent dealers. Moreover, exhibitors and visitors will profit from RubberTech China taking place parallel to Reifen China.

Around 430 exhibitors will come to the leading trade fair for rubber processing and rubber manufacture in China. Together with RubberTech China, Reifen China portrays the entire value added chain for everything to do with tyres - from raw material processing via the product fabrication right up to the sales. This year, the China Forum in which experts will examine the current development of the tyre and rubber markets will once again be staged within the framework of both fairs.

Retread and motorcycle tyres In 2013, the organisers of Reifen China achieved an increased demand for booth areas in the sections for retread tyres and motorcycle tyres. The demand

is reflecting the current market development. In the middle of 2012, there were approximately as many as 103 million two-wheelers and 114 million cars being driven on China’s roads. In total, the motor vehicle market grew by 3.67 per cent in the East Asian state in 2012. In this respect, retread tyres form a cost-favourable alternative to new tyres for a lot of consumers in the threshold country. China remains one of the world’s most attractive and fastest growing tyre markets. The fast growing domestic appetite for high quality automobiles is a consequence of a tremendous growth rate and offers many opportunities for the rubber and tyre industries. In 2012, the sixth Reifen China was met with great response. A total of 12,071 visitors from 64 countries came to Reifen China and Rubber Tech China, which took place in parallel in the Shanghai New International Exhibition Center. Over 112 exhibitors from 15 countries showed their newest developments and products on an area of 11.500 square metres. Not only Chinese market leaders but also a large number of companies from Belgium, Germany, England, India, Italy, Malaysia, Japan, Poland, Russia, Taiwan, Thailand, the USA, und Venezuela presented their portfolios at the show. The internationality of the event is emphasized

by the fact that exhibitors from all over the world ascribe great significance to Reifen China as a communication platform. For economic protagonists, it paves the way into new sales markets and simultaneously contributes to the consolidation of the globally leading position of the world’s premier fair, Reifen in Essen. One conspicuous feature in 2012 was that

companies from Eastern Europe took more interest in Reifen China. For example, Poland was represented for the first time in 2012. The exhibiting companies at the 2012 show were pleased about well-visited booths, excellent networking possibilities and numerous business deals. Although an absolute fair boom was not to be expected due to the slight decline in the Chinese economy, the trade fair once again presented itself as a fixed date for the sector. The organisers had decided to increase the numbers not only of international exhibitors but also of visitors for the 2013 show in order to serve the future market of China in an even better way. On the last day of the fair, the rebooking for Reifen China 2013 had already registered an 80-per cent repeat reservation rate. Reifen China originated from Reifen Essen, Germany, which has been running every two years since 1960. The Reifen show is the largest professional tyre fair in the world today after going through half a century of continuous development. China is the world‘s most active and fastest growing market and promises to be be an extreme oppurtunity of prospect in rubber and tire industry. The Asian Essen Show was officially launched in China in 2007 through the cooperation of China United Rubber Corporation and Messe Essen GmbH.

The Shanghai New International Expo Center (SNIEC) is China`s leading exhibition centre. It has a modern infrastructure based on international standards. One special feature is the excellent, easliy accessible location and the single storey column-free hall design. The SNIEC has nine halls with a total of 103,500 sq.m. of exhibition area as well as 100,000 sq.m. outdoor area. POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013




More than just service R

etrofit generally stands for modernisation or expansion of existing machines with the clear objective of improving the quality or the efficiency of the system. By exchanging obsolete or defective components and adding new modern technology existing plants are brought up to date. The modernisation of the system delivers various advantages to the operator. Most important an increase in productivity at a significantly lower cost compared to a new relevant equipment. With over 25 year of experience in the field of industrial machinery retrofit, Altracon has focused on the modernisation of testing systems in the automotive industry and especially the tyres business. To compete with OEM solutions, who often argue that repair or modernisation is inefficient for the customer compared


to new machinery, Altracon has specially developed individual retrofit concepts. These concepts allow toperform an upgrade of the entire system and the components on the premises of the customer. Because it is not required to dismantle and reassemble the machinery not only the cost but especially the standstill times are minimised. With the latest measurement and control technology and the optimisation of both process and system, Altracon ensures that quality, performance and compliance with the latest technical standards for product testing are guaranteed. The conversion of the high quality mechanical engineering of older machines in combination with the latest measurement, control and drive technology results in an excellent performance. After numerous projects retrofit systems

POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013

show better and more continuous longterm results than comparable newer machines. Another advantage of the Altracon concept is the open market spare parts supply for the upcoming years of operation. During the conversion process, the company takes into account the specific local situation of technology and spare parts. The hitherto costly OEM dependence regarding supply of service and spare parts delivery will be reduced to a minimum by the use of local availability and market standards. A wide range of services with remote maintenance and the integration of the customer’s own service personnel, delivers a comprehensive and customer oriented solution. More than one hundred projects around the globe and highly satisfied customers are proof to Altracon’s message: Second Life - Retrofit

click Track


not yet!


his is a never ending story – waste tyres and environment. Every year billions of waste tyres are left all over the world giving a perennial headache to authorities. Tyre recycling companies are providing considerable solution to the issue, but the fact remains that the world is just not enough to deal with all those scrap tyres!

However, on the flip side, innovative methods are being introduced to keep these wastes in use as much as possible. From the most widely used park swings to ferry protectors, waste tyres live on in friendly terms with the world.

The city of Dusseldorf in Germany found a charming way to use at least some of its “dead tyres.” They have come up as traffic islands in the middle of a square (photos). These tyre islands, with blooming flowers inside, have become part of the cityscape. One wonders how many of the city’s busy population takes notice of this praiseworthy effort! POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013



Anil Mishra



ll rubber producers want to get maximum possible price for their rubber but the user industry wants to buy it the cheapest possible so that their profit margin improves. It doesn’t come simply by wishing but all the stakeholders analyse the market to be able to correctly predict the price and be able to take maximum advantage by locking targeted price.

One must always bear in mind that no one has been able to predict the future price of global commodities with certainty. The most successful traders may have higher percentage of success in predicting the futures price and that is what we should aim, being correct most of the time. The analysts of the markets are broadly categorised in two groups. One is called Fundamental Analyst and other is called Technical Analyst. Some are so convinced about their way of market analysis that they become diehard fundamentalist or technicians and pooh pooh other’s approach and severely criticise. Fundamental Analyst: They study and analyse the factors responsible for price movement and how these factors are going to change in the future. They analyze the effect of the likely change in the factors responsible for increase or decrease in supply and demand of the commodity. They analyse who, when, what, where and how of the supply and demand side. They analyse the cause of the price movement. They mostly therefore are successful in long term price forecast and change their forecast once new information comes in. Only real big players have the capability of correctly predicting the future price trend based on fundamentals because they have first hand information of everything happening in the global supply chain. Anil Mishra is the MD & CEO of National Multi Commodity Exchange (NMCE). He is an expert on commodity trading, supply chain management and trading in derivatives. He is also an international speaker, presenter and writer. The views expressed here are of the author and not that of the Exchange


In case of rubber they analyse production, which has single climatic zone affecting over 90% production concentrated in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, India and Vietnam. Any climatic impact like El Nino or La Nina may hamper the production and price could see huge upswing and volatility. In consumption side they analyse revival or slump of auto industry and non tyre industry. They also look at the behaviour of local currency vs. dollar. The price of crude is monitored because there is very positive correlation between crude and rubber price.

Technical Analyst (Technician): They are not so much concerned about the Fundamental Factors but are more concerned on reaction to Fundamentals. They study and analyse the effect of the price movement and believe that market action discounts everything and every information is reflected in the price. The price moves in trend, history repeats itself & human psychology doesn’t change. Fear, Greed and hope always dominate the market action. Technicians believe that price of commodities move in very predictable trends and patterns. Trends continue until something happens to change the trend. Until that change takes place, price levels are predictable. Technicians seek to identify price patterns and trends and attempt to exploit those patterns. While technicians use various methods and tools, the study of price charts is primary. Technicians especially search for archetypal patterns, such as the well-known head and shoulders reversal pattern, and also study such indicators as price, volume, and moving averages of the price. Many technical analysts also follow indicators of investor psychology. Technicians also extensively use indicators, which are typically mathematical transformations of price or volume. These indicators are used to help determine whether an asset is trending, and if it is, its price direction. Technicians also look for relationships between price, volume and, in the case of futures, open interest.

POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013

The analysts of the markets are broadly categorised in two groups. One is called Fundamental Analyst and other is called Technical Analyst. Some are so convinced about their way of market analysis that they become diehard fundamentalist or technicians and pooh pooh other’s approach and severely criticise Essentially, technical analysis examines two areas of investing: the analysis of market “psych” (or sentiment), and the analysis of supply/demand (whether investors have the funds to support their hopes and fears). A bullish investor without funds cannot take the market higher. Technicians seek to forecast price movements such that large gains from successful trades exceed more numerous but smaller losing trades, producing positive returns in the long run through proper risk control and money management. There are several schools of technical analysis. Adherents of different schools (for example, candlestick charting, Dow Theory, and Elliott wave theory) may ignore the other approaches, yet many traders combine elements from more than one school. Technical analysts use judgment gained from experience to decide which pattern a particular instrument reflects at a given time, and what the interpretation of that pattern should be. Technical analysis is frequently contrasted with fundamental analysis; the study of economic factors that some analysts say can influence prices in commodity markets. Technical analysis holds that prices already reflect all such influences before investors are aware of them, hence the study of price action alone. Recomendation: Some traders use technical or fundamental analysis exclusively, but according to me the most successful one who are consistent over time are the one who use both. They complement each other and with that you increase the probability of outcome more in your favour.


By Rajiv Budhraja



ubber Asia magazine having acquired stature as a rubber industry publication of international repute, Polymers & Tyre Asia was launched complementing and supplementing Rubber Asia. Over the years, the journal has come to be popularly named as Tyre Asia or simply TA as it is commonly referred to in the industry parlance. Some might have even started wondering the need of affixing Polymers in the title. Is ‘Polymers’ just a fancy prefix or there is more to it? All those who had even an iota of doubt why this journal gives the same pride of place to polymers as tyres should have witnessed the proceedings of Indian tyre industry’ day long interaction with raw material providers aptly named Partners’ Summit held in Delhi recently. In fact tyre is so integral with its raw materials, primarily polymers, that the magazine couldn’t have been named anything but that. Partners’ Summit was the first ever organised meet of the tyre industry with raw material partners and went on to prove why a closer partnership between the industry and supply chain partners including polymers cannot be over emphasised. As tyre industry in India raises the bar on quality, its engagement with polymers and other raw materials becomes wider, more diverse and more complex. For the first time, therefore, an attempt was made to bring the top executives from the tyre industry and raw material partners (all leading commodity majors) on one platform so as to exchange views, find synergies, work towards greener products and maximise the potential, as manufacturing axis shifts from West to East and India’s stature as a manufacturing nation rises. The summit explored how raw material providers and the tyre industry can together respond to fast unfolding changes, benefit from the emerging opportunities and work towards creating a more sustainable eco system. The presence of participants from a number of countries representing all the major raw material providers and top honchos of tyre industry lent credence to the fact that both the industry and raw material partners are keen to usher in a new era of growth together justifying the theme of the summit “Together for Growth”. Much in the same way ‘Polymers’ and ‘Tyre’ are together on the cover of this magazine in a symbiotic relationship.

Rajiv Budhraja is Director General of the New Delhibased tyre industry association, Automotive Tyre Manufacturers’ Association (ATMA).The views expressed here are personal

The meet underlined the need for industry to have joint research & development programmes with raw material partners. The expertise and insights gained over the years could stand in good stead if both tyre companies and other stakeholders work together to create value-added products. Tyre is a composite product where around 37 raw materials chiefly polymers assembled to manufacture it. Any variability in raw material is likely to show up in the final product as large variation and hence will


ith change in business scenario, the equations between partners also need to change. Aanalogy of changed equations leading to much wider gains for all the partners is best exemplified in the changed equation between tyre industry and Natural Polymer’s interest represented by Rubber Board of India. A Rubber Board initiative assisted by ATMA to improve the quality of Natural Rubber has been launched at a large scale in Kerala, the hub of NR cultivation in India. The openness and an appreciation of issues and concerns of the industry by the Rubber Board marks a significant shift and is reflective of modern day openness lead to inconsistency in products. The inconsistency needs to be minimised as majority of Indian tyres manufactures have become the global suppliers to best automobile companies in the world With change in business scenario, the equations between partners also need to change. Aanalogy of changed equations leading to much wider gains for all the partners is best exemplified in the changed equation between tyre industry and Natural Polymer’s interest represented by Rubber Board of India. A Rubber Board initiative assisted by ATMA to improve the quality of Natural Rubber has been launched at a large scale in Kerala, the hub of NR cultivation in India. The openness and an appreciation of issues and concerns of the industry by the Rubber Board marks a significant shift and is reflective of modern day openness. For an industry that derives more than 70% of its turnover from raw materials, the term polymers is also of much symbolic value. Polymer is derived from Greek words Polus (meaning many) and Meros (meaning parts). The whole being greater than the sum of its parts was perhaps coined by Greek philosopher Aristotle for the modern-day tyres. Thus Polymers as raw material and tyres in the same breath is not just a coincidence but a reality, the significance of relationship is only widening by the day. For once Bard of Avon Shakespeare might question “What’s in a name” but naming the journal just “Tyre Asia” would have deprived it much of its spirit. POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013


Louis Rumao



o doubt, tremendous progress has been made in improving product quality. But, in complex manufacturing process, mistakes do happen. When a product adversely affects health and safety of consumers, such as a medical or transportation product, a recall is the required, and prudent, action for the manufacturer. Some time ago, a recall was looked upon as a black mark upon a company’s reputation. However, these days, with dozens of recalls being announced and in effect at a given time, by companies large and small, consumers have learned to accept them as someone-watching-fortheir-safety!

Checking for tyre recalls

Tyres are no different when it comes to recalls, which may be the result of a government investigation or voluntarily initiated by a manufacturer. An online search shows that in 2013, there are more than 10 active tyre recall campaigns in the US, affecting the full range, from minor players to super-major manufacturers of tyres. The alleged defects also cover a broad range of causes: Tread-area cracks, sidewall perforation, defective mould, shoulder tread chunking, in-service tread and belt separation, uneven wear, groove cracking and belt lift, irregular geometry in the casing turnup area between the bead and lower sidewall and thinner inner liner.

Tyre Identification Numbers

The process

Louis P Rumao, PhD, is Polymers & Tyre Asia’s Correspondent in the United States. He is a Materials Engineering specialist with over three decades of automotive experience. He is a consultant to automotive rubber and plastics suppliers.


Companies are required to notify owners, and tyre dealers replace the tyres free of charge. It is reassuring to know that the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) always does quite well by keeping a sharp eye out for signs of defective tyres out there on the highways. When it has evidence to show that a batch of tyres is a safety issue, by failing to conform to the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 139, NHTSA will suggest, and if necessary force, a recall of the affected tyres. NHTSA monitors the corrective action and oversees the recall management to ensure successful implementation. During a recall, the manufacturer will attempt to contact all consumers with tyres that are recalled, but between third-party sales and people who don’t fill out tyre warranty cards, it is an absolute certainty that not every consumer, and perhaps not even most consumers, can be notified by the tyre company of an impending recall. Given that, it’s generally not a good idea to rely on the tyre company getting in touch with customers to warn you of a recall, and it’s generally a very good idea to be a little proactive about it yourself.

POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013

The first thing about tyre recalls – you have to know that they exist at all, and very few people have the time to go searching for recalls on their tyres. The easiest way to be notified if your specific tires are under recall is to take a few minutes when you buy a set of tyres to set up a Google Alert. Put in your tyres’ brand, make, size and “+recall” as a search term. (For example, “Michelin MXV4 225/45/18 +recall”). Set the alert for once a month or so. You wouldn’t get anything unless your tyres are actually recalled, in which case you could get multiple results if numerous media outlets report the recall. All recall notifications will include a range of dates that the tyres in question were manufactured. To tell if your tyres are among those being recalled, you will

need to read the Tyre Identification Number, or TIN. The TIN is a code embossed on your tyre’s sidewall. This begins with the letters “DOT” and indicates that the tyre meets all federal standards. The next two numbers or letters are the plant code where it was manufactured, and the last four numbers represent the week and year the tyre was built. For example, the numbers 2110 means the 21st week of 2010. The other numbers are marketing codes used at the manufacturer’s discretion. This information is used to contact consumers if a tyre defect requires a recall. As the manufacturer, you need to anticipate that the regulators will pay very close attention to the recall logistics in order to ensure that you fully meet your obligations to the consumer. Speedy completion of the recall process is always in your best interest as well as the public interest. The manufacturer is responsible for all costs of the recall process, so it’s critical to have a recall strategy and recall management plan in place to expedite the process and avoid adverse public opinion or business interruptions. It would be too late to craft a recall strategy once a recall occurs. You must have an action plan in advance and need to consult with a recall agency for recall services to minimize the impact of the poor recall handling on your company’s reputation and viability. You don’t want to be part of the bankruptcy and near-bankruptcy statistics of tyre industry.


By KS Nayar

using specially-designed 3-D robotic surgical tools. He developed the gamechanging da Vinci robotic prostatectomy technique. Today, it’s the gold standard for the treatment of prostate cancer. He embraced automation and says the “sky’s the limit” for robots in the surgical room.

Besides robotisation and computerised production processes, the CEO should inculcate a culture of continuous improvement in manufacturing. It requires a sharper focus on and empathy with the worker. Quality human capital drives efficiency.

Like Ford, Toyoda and Menon, tyre company CEOs should tell themselves that the sky is the limit for innovation in automation. Robots ensure precision, quality and better results whether on the factory-floor or in surgical rooms.

People first


yre makers are under pressure to cut costs to the bare bones. Lean and just-in-time manufacturing are considered inevitable for competitiveness. Advanced innovation in production processes may require additional funding, but it’s worth as the global economy is in a tailspin.

There is not much choice before CEOs: It’s imperative to cut costs. It’s compelling to look at ways to boost productivity. Perhaps the best solution is computerised production processes and robotised manufacturing. They result in better deployment of labour and greater assurance of quality. There are a couple of prompts for such thinking. This October marked the 100th year of Henry Ford’s moving assembly-line for Model T. This revolutionary changeover resulted in a perceptible drop in production cost. It opened the way to the democratisation of personal mobility: Not only did car prices tumble by half, even workers received pay rises. It’s once again automation that led to what has come to be known as Toyota Production System. It was a groundbreaking manufacturing practice. A lot of companies emulated this practice. It included the now widely-accepted “just-in-time production” methods. This September, its pioneer Eiji Toyoda died at age 100. He rescued Toyota from the verge of collapse and gifted to the world “kaizen.” It’s a practice to achieve continuous productivity improvement by drawing on the workers’ daily operational experience. While Ford’s assembly-line innovation led to affordable personal transportation, in the case of Toyota, its lean manufacturing evolved by Toyoda, who was a member of the company’s founding family, turned it into the world’s largest automaker. Take the case of Indian American doctor Mani Menon working for Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. He pioneered minimally-invasive prostate cancer surgery

Tyre -makers should continually scale up automation. Pirelli’s Modular Integrated Robotised System and Bridgestone’s Innovative & Rational Development processes are examples to be followed. However, robotisation can yield positive results only if CEOs recognise and reward assembly-line workers as shown by the pioneers in lean production systems.

Cutting waste In lean production, the human element remains supreme, not the robots. It cannot be ignored or sidelined in the name of slashing labour cost. Lean manufacturing — as in the case of Model T or Toyota’s efficient production-lines — means complete elimination of waste, not reducing the principal role of the worker. In tyre-making, which involves intricate compounding of about 40 different raw materials, robotisation is a challenge. Compounding is more an art than science. The compounder is like the Michelin star chef making a dish that fires the taste-buds. As MS Evans wrote in Tyre Compounding for Improved Performance, there is a limit to what chemistry and mathematical modelling can do in predicting the performance of material properties used in tyre manufacturing. “Vast databases and ‘intelligent’ software packages may offer some hope in the future to link raw material recipes to the processability of compounders and finally tyre performance, but in the end it is down to the experience of compounders to interpret the result of tyre tests.” For producing quality and precision tyres, the human role is as important or even more critical as any sophisticated robot. The right blend of robotics and human interface results in lean manufacturing gains as shown by Toyota.

Researching Toyota‘s manufacturing renaissance, American innovator Paul Akers — author of 2 Second Lean — concluded that lean is not mean. Good leadership brings harmony that erases frictions between workers and management. He asked a top Toyota official to unveil what was the most important thing that helped the automaker achieve highly-efficient production system. The little secret was surprisingly simple: “The most important thing for Toyota is people.” The official said Toyota was all about teaching and training people and building a culture of continuous improvement. “We don’t care about the next hybrid, the next engineering marvel, not even the next sales strategy. Our number one concern is how to build our people and how to build a culture of continuous improvement.” This is the quintessence of lean manufacturing that rocketed Toyota to the position as the world’s number one auto-maker. Even in the most competitive situation, its focus remained on its workers, process and product – not the other way round. All those involved in production tirelessly ensured improved reliability and elimination of waste. It all boils down to automation with a human touch. Production teams are encouraged to work with greater good in mind and find solutions as and when problems arise. Automation and robotics are only means to achieve higher productivity and quality. A successful CEO should have as his top leadership quality a commitment to make his company a learning organisation. He should constantly invent and adapt his organisation to the changing business environment. Lean management strategy means recognition of workers’ role. They know the production function more than the executive in the corner office. In manufacturing, a worker trained in automation is as important as the cutting-edge robot on the shop-floor. Lean philosophy is not mean philosophy.

POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013


random thoughts

John S Powath



n today’s jet set age, even things like fast food are not enough to keep up with the pace that you have set for yourself. Everyone is in an almighty hurry right from the time you get up from the bed and right up to bed time, that is, if at all you have time to sleep. Sleep has become forty winks.

I know of a friend who wants to outsource everything because he has no time to do things on his own. Imagine a situation when you can delegate your boring daily routines to someone else so that you can focus on what you think are more serious matters – whatever they are! Life would be easier for them who have portable dentures so that it can be removed and brushing the teeth – definitely a boring morning routine – can be delegated to wife. The wig people are blessed because setting their hair can be outsourced. Outsourcing is the key word these days. There could even be guys who outsource his “duty” to satisfy his partner in bed – another boring bed time routine for many a married man! The sky is literally full of busy people, night or day. Take a look into any airline and you see busy people fidgeting with their iPad or laptop to be ready the moment they leave the plane for all those meetings or lectures or joint venture signings or takeovers or whatever. They are a restless lot wondering why the plane is taking such a long time to reach the destination no matter the bird flies close to supersonic speeds! High flying executives are never on the ground. They hop from one plane to another. As they come out of the aircraft, they expect the escalator reserved for their exclusive use, their luggage already on the belt waiting to be picked up and the hotel limousine right at the exit gate with the back seat door open and the boot up for the luggage to whisk them away to

the hotel or to a meeting venue.

Meetings come one after the other, over lunch, evening tea, dinner and even the night cap. The next-day meeting could begin with a round of golf and then over breakfast. The routine continues and there is never a dull moment watching such busy bees, but only from a distance. By the time he gets back to base, his secretary would have fixed up the next round of meetings one after the other. While on secretaries, I would insist that a very efficient and smart secretary is worth more than your wife because you spend more creative time in the office. Well, the world has changed. If you consider work is fun and you do it very systematically, I am sure you will enjoy every minute of your busy bustling. Why not! The key is in being systematic. Then this buzzing never bothers you. Planning in advance and following it is an art. It is

amazing then that you just don’t feel you are hurrying. The speed simply disappears and you move ahead in life as if you are sailing through a cloud. It may sound incredible, but the fact is that there is enough time in this life to do everything and then some of it is even left for you to stop by and enjoy the scenery. My own experiences teach me that if you plan properly, then you can have at least half an hour absolutely free before

anything that is next in your agenda. This time-out is for doing nothing, but relaxing, watching life passing by inside the arrival hall, smiling at the child playing with the trolley bag, reading the list of delayed flights and being grateful to god that your flight is not in the list, and last, but certainly not the least, enjoying the curves in your neighbourhood! A typical example of last minute scrambling is while checking out from the hotel. You are simply at your fastest when you check out and dash to the airport. As you know, most of the international flights are at unholy times. Unholy mid-night departures make very holy early bird landings. You come out of your room in a mighty hurry and race straight to the counter to check out. Your bill is prepared in a second and there you hand over the credit card and sign the slip. You have no time to verify your bill as your car to the airport is already at the front door. Sometimes there will be wrong entries in the bill and no one checks this up. That is a worry stored for a later occasion when your secretary tries to decipher what exactly you were up to at the hotel! I have always found this an easily avoidable embarrassment. Get a copy of your bill the previous evening of your checking out so that you can make sure everything in it is in order. Peace reigns at the counter. At the time of checking out, there will be only the addition of your last day’s room charges and any food bill in case you had a meal in the hotel. By doing so, you never land up paying more. It should be the duty and responsibility of every one to check the hotel bill the previous evening. Hurry up and relax. Believe me, there is enough time and more for all of us for anything that we want to do on this planet and a few things more!

POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013


mY vision


drives growth

PTA News Bureau


s winter creeps across Europe with early snowfall in parts of the northern region, weathermen are predicting that the continent is set to witness the severest cold of this century. This will certainly come as a whiff of good cheer to Kim Gran, the 59-year old President and CEO of Nokian Tyres. Since 2000, he is heading the company that has become under his visionary leadership the undisputed leader in winter tyres. Powered by cutting-edge technology, Nokian is producing a range of tyres that have outsmarted its competition because of the reliability, strength and safety of its range of over 40 products with rim sizes from 13 inches to 22 inches. Take the case of Nokian’s WR SUV 3, its new range of tough and rugged highperformance winter tyre. Its claws through heavy snow with a grip that will assure the SUV driver total safety with excellent grip, smooth handling, better manoeuvrability and good driving response. The tyre eliminates slush planing and aquaplaning as it rolls effortlessly

Kim Gran, President & CEO of Nokian Tyres


POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013


to give sgreat winter ride creeps comfort, across shortest Europe braking distances withand early extraordinary snowfall in parts low fuel of the consumption. northern region, weathermen are predicting that the continent is set to Nokian winter and summer tyres represent witness the severest cold of this century. the continuing flowering of intense This will certainly come as a whiff of research that the company’s tyre engineers good cheer to Kim Gran, the 59-year old regularly deliver. Their chartbusters of President and CEO of Nokian Tyres. award-winning tyres have been voted by German Since 2000, automobile he is heading club ADAC the and company various that consumer has become and auto under magazines his visionary as the best. leadership This achievement the undisputed reflects the leader vision in winter of tyres. Gran to Powered lead thebycompany cutting-edge to produce technology, more Nokian such world is producing beating tyres. a range of tyres that have outsmarted its competition because The accolades for Nokian products of the reliability, strength and safety of its prove that these tyres are on top in all range of 39 products with rim sizes from departments of motoring from shortest 15 inches to 21 inches. braking distance to fuel-efficiency. When Take Nokian thewon case various of Nokian’s kudosWR for its SUV products, 3, its new including range17 ofvery tough good andand rugged goodhightest performance results in the winter 2013 summer tyre. Its claws tyre tests through in heavy Germany, snow Austria, with aand grip Switzerland, that will assure the the SUV company driverwas total living safety upwith to the excellent CEO’s vision. grip, smooth handling, better manoeuvrability Says Gran in an interview to Polymers & and good driving response. The tyre Tyre Asia: “In our vision we continue to eliminates slush planing and aquaplaning understand the needs and expectations as it rolls effortlessly to give great ride of our customers in challenging driving comfort , shortest braking distances and conditions, especially winter. We extraordinary low fuel consumption. understand the market requirement better Nokian than anybody winter else.” and summer tyres represent the continuing flowering of intense It is this in-depth understanding of the research that the company’s tyre engineers customers’ requirements that have regularly deliver. Their chartbusters of helped Nokian edge out competition award-winning tyres have been voted by from key markets where it is present. German automobile club ADAC and various “We operate in growing markets and consumer and auto magazines as the best. focus on tyre products and services that This achievement reflects the vision of offer sustainable added value to our Gran to lead the company to produce more customers,” he said in the interview. such world beating tyres.

Customer The accoladesdriven for Nokian products prove these is tyres incare all Gran’sthat objective not are onlyon totop take departments from shortest of the interestofofmotoring Nokian customers braking to share fuel-efficiency. and growdistance the mark but also When Nokian won various kudos for its products, assure shareholders good returns on including 17 very “We goodwill andcontinue good test their investment. our results in the 2013 summer tyrethe tests in profitable growth and aim to be most Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, profitable tyre manufacturer also in the the

future.” It’s this grand ambition that is driving the CEO to scale greater heights as the company’s growth clearly shows. In spite of slowing down of the economies of the continent, Nokian has ensured that the company’s growth remains consistently good. Gran says that its business strategy has helped it remain the undisputable leader in its core markets in Russia and Nordic countries where it consistently manages to increase the market share. Today, he is expecting this good growth performance to continue, particularly on the back of Nokian’s new winter tyres spearheaded by the innovative Hakkapeliitta 8 launched in the second half of this year. Hakkapeliitta 8, which is a studded premium tyre that offers extreme winter safety and low road wear, has extraordinary winter grip that is seen never before. Its groundbreaking Nokian Eco Stud 8 concept comes with a new-generation anchor stud, a flange design that reduces stud impact. Its cushion has improved

company was of living to and the CEO’s vision. the operation theup stud has further softened the road contact. Says Kan in an interview to Polymers & Tyre Asia: “In ourrevolutionary vision we continue The result of the designtois understand needs and that the roadthe wear effect is expectations on an average of challenging 12our percustomers cent lowerin than the limit driving defined in conditions , especially winter. Wetechnology the Nordic stud legislation. This understand thelonger market requirement better contributes to lifetime, lower heat than anybody generation andelse.” reduced rolling resistance thereby boosting the tyre’s fuel economy. It is this in-depth understanding of the customers’ requirements thatstand have out These features make Nokian helped Nokian edge out competition in the crowded competitive market. from key markets where it is present. Explaining his market strategy, Gran says “We operate in growing markets and that the company markets its products focus products and services that mainlyon in tyre areas with northern conditions offer addedforests value and to our wheresustainable there are snow, customers,” he saidconditions in the interview. demanding driving caused by changing seasons.

Customer driven

“We utilise our special competence in Gran’s objective is not onlylike to take care narrow product segments passenger of the interest of Nokian customers car winter tyres, truck winter tyres and and growtyres,” the mark share but “We also make forestry he explained. assure shareholders good returns on our sales in replacement markets through their investment. “We will continue our speciality tyre outlets, car dealers and profitable growth and aim to be the most other companies engaged with the direct profitable tyre also in the end-users andmanufacturer the tyre trade.” future.” It’s this grand ambition that is driving the supply CEO to scale greater heights as Rubber the company’s growth clearly shows. Gran also explained that the Nokian’s philosophy is to putdown emphasis efficient In spite of slowing of theon economies distribution. “We Nokian want the users of that of the continent, has ensured our products and services to beconsistently the the company’s growth remains most customers in the world. good.satisfied Grant says that its business strategy Therefore, are building controlled has helpedwe it remain the undisputable distribution in our markets, leader in its networks core markets inmain Russia and spearheaded by Vianor, growing vehicle Nordic countries where ita consistently and tyre service chainthe comprising over manages to increase market share. 1,100 tyre stores across 26 countries. Today, he is expecting this good growth Commenting on the uncertainties facing performance to continue, particularly natural rubber supplies, new he said that on the back of Nokian’s winter the Nokian strategyby is the to build long-term tyres spearheaded innovative relationships with suppliers. “Wesecond believe Hakkapeliitta 8 launched in the in long-term relationships with the natural half of this year. rubber suppliers. We do not see a major Hakkapeliitta 8, which is a studded

risk of a big thewinter next premium tyreturbulence that offersduring extreme few years.” While thewear, company has tied up safety and low road has extraordinary uninterrupted chains, is also winter grip thatsupply is seen never Gran before. Its closely observingEco various trends groundbreaking Stud market 8 concept comes that could impact the company. with a new-generation anchor stud, a flange design that reduces stud impact. He is keenly looking at major consumer Its cushion has improved the operation of perceptions that will have a defining impact the stud and has further softened the road on the tyre industry. “We see that in our contact. core markets, safety remains the main driver for consumer tyre purchases. The result of the revolutionary designEasy is processes for wear purchasing and that the road effect is onmounting an average as well as environmental issues are alsoin 12 per cent lower than the limit defined important for consumers,” he the Nordicfactors stud legislation. This technology explains. to longer lifetime, lower heat contributes generation and reduced rolling resistance Brandboosting powerthe tyre’s fuel economy. thereby Although tyre-labelling, which stand has become These features make Nokian out mandatory in Europe, has resulted in the crowded competitive a level playing-field, But strategy, that has not deterred Explaining his market Gran says Nokian from building on its reputation that the company markets its productsas a quality immense value. “We mainly inbrand areas of with northern conditions have been building our brand for about 80 where there are snow, forests and years now, and we have seen the power demanding driving conditions caused byof a strong brand when talking about pricing changing seasons. power in the market,” Gran points out. “We utilise our special competence in The Nokian brand is the cornerstone in his narrow product segments like passenger business model and as a house-brand car winter tyres, truck winter tyres and in Nokian’styres,” core markets. It’s a “We guarantee forestry he explained. make for its high quality that is accepted by our sales in replacement markets through the consumers.” A powerful brand has speciality tyre outlets, car dealers and a strong place in consumers’ other companies engaged withhearts, the direct measured by key end-users and theperformance tyre trade.” indicators (KPIs) like top of the mind, loyalty, appreciation and recommendation,” he Rubber supply asserts. Gran also explained that the Nokian’s philosophy put emphasis onneed efficient “To becomeisato strong brand, you distribution. “We want the to users to have something unique offerofto our products and to bevision the and customers and to services execute your most satisfied customers the world. plans with a healthy will toinwin!” says Gran Therefore, wethe arestupendous building controlled as he drives market growth distribution networks in visionary our main zeal. markets, of Nokian tyres with his

POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013


Akron Special Machinery, Inc Back Cover Advertisers’ Index Altracon 23 Continued from page 24

FOR A NATIONAL RUBBER POLICY RM supplier, machinery manufacturer, education institutes) in the rubber industry needs to play for the success of this industry to achieve the above mentioned vision. The government may need to look into the policy issues for imports including that of rubber, RM, machinery and testing equipment and policies for setting up the RM plants in India. Manufacturers will get clarity on what they need to deliver to a global customer in terms of quality and pricing and new products to look for as a growth potential. Rubber machinery manufacturers may need to gear up to deliver the right quality machines to manufacture the quality of products needed. IRI may need to focus on technical and educational aspects for future requirements, RSDC on future availability of skilled labour, Rubber Board on availability of quality as well as quantity of NR as well as sustenance of planters and NR industry in a dynamic environment. This policy, like the one created for various other industries, can be a vision document on where and how the Indian rubber industry can and will

As a tyre manufacturing consultant, Yilmaz’s experience about investors has been interesting. He says that there are two types, one is always in a hurry and wants quick solutions and do not want to waste time with planning. The second category of investors does a lot of planning before execution.





Brityrex 2014




How is preparation for the Indian Rubber Expo and tyre show 2015 going on?





IRE 2015 will be the largest rubber event ever yet, globally. The IRE is now a brand to reckon with and India is the destination for the rubber Industry. No one from the global rubber industry can afford to miss this event. In terms of space, Delhi will cover an area 40,000 sq. mtrs. With an increased international participation, we are looking at more than 500 booths.



The second tyre show will certainly be bigger and bolder. This time IRI has joined hands for conducting the technical seminar. Leading rubber associations of the world such as ACS (USA), DKG (Germany), MRB, TRA, VRA etc. have agreed to assist in promoting the show among their members. Continued partnership of Rubber Board, ATMA, CAPEXIL, IRMRA etc. speaks of the confidence reposed in IRE 2015 as I look forward to welcoming all to this largest ever rubber event.


Challenge to tyre techies

“I do not think branding will take a back seat. That’s because the majority of consumers will not behave like a professional user. They will still go after labelling. The dealers will use the labelling as a tool as well which in turn will keep labelling alive and effective.” In the case of budget tyres, the consumer preferences will still be guided by labelling.


Balkrishna Tyres

be placed in 2023 and what role will each of the concerned partners play to achieve this position.

Continued from page 57

Certainly labelling would have more effect on first buy, but the consumer, especially the professional, will be influenced by price/performance relations.

A-Z Formen

What happens with the first category is that they want to be quick and skip the planning phase and buy cheaper machinery. This actually results in hiccups in production, spiralling costs and production losses when attempts at correction are made. If the machinery is not selected well, then comes problems in manufacturing which increases conversion costs and quality issues. The second category of investors do the reverse of this, and do a lot of planning, and go for correctly designed plant layouts, select the right machinery and in the end they develop a competitive manufacturing facility. “Another observation that I’ve made is that the number of investors in the second category, who plan well, are increasing. I hope this will continue so that investment delivers positive results.”

POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA October/November 2013

Continental Reifen

Back Inside

Continental India


Gandhar Oil Refinery Ltd.






Indian Synthetic Rubber



JK Tyre & Industries




Latin American & Carribean










M+V Marketing & Sales (S+S)


Nynas Naphthenics


Omni United




Raj Petro L.t.d.


Reifen China


RubberTech China 2013


Rubber Technology Expo 2014


Rubber & Tyre Vietnam




Shantou Tianyang Mold


ST Marys


Struktol Co. of America

Front Inside

Sundaram Industries


Swani Rubber


Tire Technology Expo 2014






Tyre and Rubber Indonesia


Tyrexpo Africa 2014


Tyrexpo Asia


Tyrexpo India


VMI Holland


Tyre asia oct nov 2013  

The leading tyre industry magazine

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